America Airlines – Your Evening Briefing: McConnell Blocks Larger Bailout Payments
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to force quick action on raising direct Covid-19 bailout payments to $2,000 despite President Donald Trump’s support for the increase. Trump’s surprise demand last week put his party in a bind after Republicans rejected anything more than $600 for struggling Americans. The pressure has been felt most by Georgia’s two GOP senators, who broke with most of their party to support the boost just days before facing a competitive run-off election that will determine control of the Senate. —Josh Petri
Bloomberg is tracking the progress of coronavirus vaccines while mapping the pandemic globally and across America.
Here are today’s top stories
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now predicts the U.S. will see 400,000 coronavirus deaths by Jan. 20, the day Trump leaves office. The country surpassed 100,000 deaths in May, and 200,000 four months later. It took another three months to pass 300,000. Now, it looks as if reaching the terrible toll of 400,000 dead will only take one month. In addition to the most infections and deaths worldwide, the U.S. has one of the highest mortality ratios of nations hit hardest by the virus. The numbers only underscore the urgency of vaccine distribution efforts, over 2 million doses of which have thus far been doled out.
The scale of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China, early this year may have been almost 10 times the recorded tally, according to a study.
Boeing’s 737 Max has returned to commercial service in the U.S. for the first time since two deadly crashes prompted the longest aircraft grounding in the nation’s history. The return of the Max is the keystone of Boeing’s efforts to restore a balance sheet battered by both the grounding and the pandemic.
Wall Street is tempering annual bonus expectations, despite an avalanche of trading activity that sent revenues soaring for the biggest U.S. banks. Financial firms are wary of making big payouts to employees, which could draw criticism from the public and lawmakers when millions are out of work.
For all of Tesla’s battery wizardry, an equally impressive coup has been its creation of a vehicle that can be electronically updated from afar—just like a smartphone. Now a startup is selling a system that it says allows any vehicle to similarly update itself. The market: the tens of millions of passenger vehicles sold every year that aren’t made by Elon Musk.
Unemployed Americans claiming federal benefits won’t see a one-week gap in their payments, despite the delay by Trump in signing the program extension into law, according to his administration.
Even going bankrupt can be prohibitively expensive. As the pandemic intensified, hundreds of thousands of small business owners walked away rather than seek court protection and a chance at reopening. Collectively, they laid off millions of employees while shuttering small stores, restaurants and other enterprises in a wave of silent closures. Next year, however, may be different if the rollout of a vaccine gives entrepreneurs hope that cutting debt under court oversight is once again worth it.
What you’ll need to know tomorrow
- Authorities struggle to find a motive in the Nashville bombing.
- A wrong-way bet on Covid has changed oil-trading forever.
- President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural lunch called off due to Covid.
- An NFL player will collect half of his $13 million salary in Bitcoin.
- Jack Ma lost $12 billion in the two months since Beijing crackdown.
- The 11 meals a Bloomberg food writer remembers most from 2020.
- Bloomberg CityLab: The movies and shows we binged this year.
What you’ll want to read tonight in Businessweek
Alongside the 19 million infected and more than 330,000 killed by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., there are millions more whose lives have been upended by the economic collapse that has come with it. People once in the middle class are struggling to secure food, shelter and a decent income. Others are enjoying rising home prices, new models of work and the pleasures of baking their own bread. America in 2020 is a nation emerging from a crisis more unequal than it was before. Here are some faces and facts that tell the story.
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The Best of Bloomberg Podcasts: As 2020 finally comes to an end, use your holiday down time to catch up on the best podcasts you may have missed, including Blood River, a tale of murder, corruption and environmental activism (on Apple and Spotify), and Foundering, the story of the fall of WeWork (on Apple and Spotify).
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