Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet is acquiring a license to provide blanket coverage to Britain, the Telegraph says

Tesla CEO Elon Musk with a hardhat.JPG
Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Germany this week.

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet venture has secured a license to construct a satellite ground station on the Isle of Man, which will provide “blanket coverage” across Great Britain, the Telegraph reports.

Starlink, part of of Musk’s SpaceX, has filed an application with the communications regulator for the Isle of Man to improve its broadband coverage for rural areas in northern Britain that cannot be reached by fiber broadband or 5G internet, the newspaper reported.

By transmitting from a station on the island, which is west off the coast of northern Britain, Starlink can capitalize on the island’s less crowded airwaves so their signal can reach these rural broadband holes, the Telegraph said.

Starlink already has established satellite bases in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall. With the three ground stations and its network of satellites in orbit, the company is expected to beam down full broadband coverage for all of the UK, it said.

The internet service would compete with other British broadband companies in Britain, particularly the UK government-owned OneWeb, which also works with a low Earth orbit satellite network.

SpaceX is looking to provide Starlink satellite internet globally by this September and connecting in-flight internet service. The company has been working on launching 42,000 Starlink satellites into orbit by 2027 to support its global broadband signal.

Global coverage of Starlink’s service could allow more and more rural and underserved communities to get fast broadband.

Starlink launched a UK limited test service earlier this year, charging £89 ($123) a month, plus £439 ($610) for a satellite dish, according to the Telegraph. More than 500,000 people have placed an order for Starlink internet, Musk said in May.

Ofcom, the UK’s communication regulator, said last week it is updating the terms and process for obtaining licenses for low-orbit satellites, like the ones Starlink uses, and were halting any current or new applications. However, the regulators said they were in the final stages of issuing one license that was developed with their proposed guideline. Ofcom did not comment on who filed the application.

Starlink could not be reached by the time of publication.

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Dr. Fauci warns ‘things are going to get worse’ due to Delta variant surges, but doesn’t foresee more lockdowns

  • Dr. Fauci warned that “things will get worse” as cases of the Delta variant continues to spike.
  • “We’re looking not towards lockdown, but we’re looking towards some pain and suffering in the future,” Fauci told ABC.
  • Fauci reiterated the efficacy of vaccines and said “the solution to this is to get vaccinated.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical advisor, warned Sunday that “things will get worse” with “pain and suffering ahead” in the current surge in COVID-19 cases in the US, primarily driven by the Delta variant.

“Are we headed towards a period once again where we’re going to see lockdowns, businesses shut down, masks routine for everybody, or is this potentially just a temporary setback?,” ABC’s Jon Karl asked Fauci on Sunday morning.

“Jon, I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country, not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to allow us to not get into the situation we were in last winter,” Fauci said. “But things are going to get worse. If you look at the numbers, the seven-day average has gone up substantially.”

Fauci added that “we are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated,” highlighting the efficacy of vaccines against COVID-19 illness.

Vaccines have proven remarkably effective against both symptomatic infections and severe disease. Less than 0.8% of fully vaccinated Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, according to estimates, with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky stating that 97% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“We’re looking not towards lockdown, but we’re looking towards some pain and suffering in the future because we’re seeing the cases go up, which is why we’re saying over and over again that the solution to this is to get vaccinated, and this would not be happening,” Fauci said.

Nationwide, COVID-19 cases have risen by 148%, hospitalizations by 73%, and deaths by 13% over the past 14 days, according to a New York Times database, primarily driven by the contagious Delta variant.

The spike in cases caused the Centers for Disease Control to formally recommend that even fully vaccinated Americans wear face coverings indoors in communities with substantial or high COVID-19 spread, which now encompasses most of the country.

Currently, 44 US states and the District of Columbia have substantial or high COVID-19 spread, according to CDC data, are thus subject to the CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors.

The Delta surge is hitting communities with the lowest vaccination rates the hardest, spurring new, urgent efforts to get reluctant Americans vaccinated.

In four of the five states with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, (Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama), less than 50% of residents have received even one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and less than 40% are fully vaccinated, according to The Times.

Expanded Coverage Module: coronavirus-module

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The pandemic is worsening mental health for women, middle-aged adults, a new survey finds

Mental health disorders like depression are rising among certain groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, multiple surveys and studies have indicated that mental health has declined for a number of groups and populations.

  • Mental health challenges have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A new survey from the University of Michigan has quantified some of the effects.
  • Women and US adults ages 50 to 64 have reported worsening mental health during the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

For months, experts have warned about the prospect of a an entirely different threat unleashed by the coronavirus: a mental health crisis that could sweep the country.

Their concerns are rooted in more than a year of social isolation, the grief and loss, and economic and emotional trauma that the pandemic has inflicted. A new survey conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan is shedding light on which groups might be most vulnerable to the effects.

Four groups – women, people ages 50 to 64, people with higher levels of education, and individuals in either fair or poor physical health – “are more likely to have experienced worsened mental health during the first nine months of the pandemic,” or to have felt heightened anxiety or sleep problems, researchers found.

As many as one-fifth of all older adults said they felt their mental health had worsened throughout the health crisis, the findings concluded.

Women were found to be likelier than men to have broached the topic with a health provider or considered medication as a treatment option. The research was conducted by surveying more than 2,000 adults across the US in late January in the National Poll on Health Aging.

Based on the poll’s findings, which were published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the University of Michigan researchers now suggest that health providers look more closely at older adults to spot signs of worsening mental health, they said this week in a blog post on the university’s website.

Stepping up treatment offerings

“We need to continue to look for and address the mental health effects of the pandemic and connect people to treatment resources,” Lauren Gerlach, a doctor and assistant professor at the university’s medical school who was the primary author of the newly-published paper, said in a statement.

“Poor mental health can decrease functioning, independence, and quality of life for older adults but treatment can significantly help,” she added.

There were some bright spots for certain groups who participated in the poll. People ages 65 to 80 were less likely to report declining mental health, the university said, and, overall, two-thirds of respondents viewed their mental health as being “excellent or very good.”

Nearly a third added that they’d taken steps to “improve their mental health” since the pandemic began, like increasing exercise, diet, and meditation.

Other warning signs are emerging

Meanwhile, other research has alluded to the dangers of a looming mental health crisis brought on by COVID-19.

Roughly 40% of US adults have professed to feeling the symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder – about four times higher than those who felt similarly in 2019, prior to the pandemic, the Kaiser Family Foundation said in February.

As early as May 2020, the World Health Organization sounded the alarm over the potential for “a massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months.”

In that warning, which called for increased investments in mental health services, the WHO reported that women were especially at risk of declining mental health, while balancing demands like childcare and home-schooling.

And Insider reported in June that mental health and substance use experts are concerned that this tumultuous year might also have intensified the consumption of alcohol among underage youth.

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Sen. Ron Johnson says he’d support a vaccine mandate for an ‘incredibly deadly’ virus but not COVID-19, which has killed more than 613,000 Americans

ron johnson covid
Sen. Ron Johnson said Friday that he would only support a vaccine mandate for an “incredibly deadly” disease, but not COVID-19.

  • GOP Sen. Ron Johson said he would support a vaccine mandate only for an “incredibly deadly” disease but not COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has killed more than 613,000 people in the US and more than 4.2 million globally, per Johns Hopkins University.
  • Johnson also attacked the CDC for changing its guidelines on masking.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, said he would support a vaccine mandate for an “incredibly deadly disease,” but said he would not support such a mandate for COVID-19.

“No,” Johnson said during a Friday evening appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” when asked whether he would ever support any sort of vaccine mandate. “Not unless there’s some incredibly deadly disease. I mean much higher infection-fatality rates than we have with COVID.”

“We don’t know the final infection-fatality rate, but right now it’s looking like it’s not going to be much more than double a bad season of flu,” he added.

Scientists believe that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is “substantially higher” than strains of the seasonal flu, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were about 34,000 deaths in the United States from flu-related causes in the 2018-2019 flu season.

COVID-19, which emerged in late 2019, has so far killed more than 613,000 people in the US and more than 4.2 million people across the globe, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University. More than 34 million cases of the disease have been diagnosed in the US since the disease was first diagnosed in the US early last year.

New cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from the disease declined with the rollout of the vaccines earlier this year, but the disease is facing a resurgence in the US as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads.

While vaccinated people can contract and spread the Delta variant, experts and data suggest the vaccines prevent serious illness and death. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, earlier this month called the ongoing surge a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Over the past week, vaccine mandates have become more commonplace as cases of the disease rise. Still, Walensky said Friday there would be no federal vaccine mandate for Americans, Reuters reported.

Major US companies, including Walmart and Disney, announced this week that they’d require some of their US employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. President Joe Biden this week announced all federal workers needed to be fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing.

Also in the interview Friday, Johnson lashed out at CDC after it changed its guidance this week on the wearing of face masks

“The American public is losing faith in our federal health agencies – and that’s a real shame,” Johnson said. “If there’s one part of government, other than the Defense Department, you’d like to have faith in, it’d be the federal health agencies — and they’ve lost the trust of the American public.

“Because they’re not making any sense,” he added. “They’re flip-flopping on issues, whether it’s masks, they’re not backing up their pronouncements with science.”

The agency said this week that vaccinated individuals should mask up in areas with a high level of COVID-19, backtracking on its guidance from May that said fully vaccinated people could take their masks off in most settings.

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Amazon delivery companies are telling their drivers to ignore jammed doors, damaged seatbelts, and broken mirrors, CNBC reports

Amazon delivery vans

Ten current and former drivers for delivery companies contracted by Amazon say they’ve been told by their managers ignore basic safety issues, like jamming doors, damaged seatbelts, low tire tread, busted rearview cameras, and broken mirrors.

Amazon contracts 2,000 private delivery firms through its DSP (delivery service partner) program, which accounts for 115,000 drivers in the US who help with the company’s daily fulfillment operations.

Read more: I’m a part-time Amazon delivery driver. Here’s how we cheat to get around the strict rules and constant monitoring.

The ten current and former drivers described instances where there was active concern for their own safety while driving an Amazon van, but were unable to report it. “Once we arrive at the lot, we have to personally conduct a 60-point check on our vehicles before we get assigned to our routes,” a part-time Amazon DSP driver told Insider in April. Chastity Cook, a former DSP driver in Illinois said to CNBC, “[managers would] tell us, just make sure everything’s great and go. We just checked down the list. We don’t even stop to read it and make sure everything is there.”

Courier Express One, Cook’s former DSP employer, did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Amazon invests millions into safety mechanisms in their delivery network, including regular compliance auditing, two daily vehicle checks, and taking delivery vans out-of-service if they need maintenance. But it can costs a DSP potential deliveries and revenue.

According to the DSP program brochure, DSP fleet owners earn revenue based on a rate based on the length of a delivery route and a rate based on the number of successfully delivered packages. Vehicle costs, including routine maintenance, damages, and insurance, are deducted as ‘ongoing operation costs.’

Amazon has had issues in the past with its delivery drivers’ alleging disturbing working conditions, with drivers speaking out about missing wages and strenuous shifts.

“When safety protocol is broken, we take various actions including ending our relationship with a DSP if warranted,” Amazon said in a statement made to Insider. “We’re actively investigating the experiences in [the CNBC] story and don’t believe they are representative of the more than 150,000 drivers that safely deliver packages every day.”

“The safety of drivers and communities is our top priority and the vast majority of DSPs and drivers share that commitment,” Amazon added.

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Women, people of color, and low-income families face the highest risk of being forced out of their homes as the eviction moratorium comes to an end

Eviction Moratorium Activists Massachusetts Signs DOJ
Housing activists erect a sign in front of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s house in Swampscott, Mass.

  • With the eviction moratorium likely coming to an end Saturday, millions of renters are expected to be plunged into housing disarray.
  • About 73 percent of renters likeliest to be evicted are people of color. About 56 percent are women.
  • More than half of the likeliest people vulnerable to eviction make less than $25,000 in total household income.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The eviction moratorium is expected to end on July 31, after Congress failed to renew it before heading into recess until mid-September. Once the moratorium expires, about 7.4 million Americans will risk getting evicted in the next coming months, according to Census Pulse Survey Data.

Women, people of color, and low-income households are the most vulnerable groups of renters who will be exposed to the consequences brought on by the end of the eviction moratorium. These three groups are believed to have the likeliest chance of being forced to leave their homes within the next two months, Census household data projects.

About 1.4 million renters are very likely to be kicked out of their homes in the next two months, the data says. According to Insider calculations:

  • About 73 percent of the 1.4 million renters likely to be evicted are people of color.
  • About 56 percent of the 1.4 million are women.
  • And about 76 percent have an annual household income of less than $50,000 a year. More than half of the 1.4 million make less than $25,000 in total household income.

Additionally, about 20% of the 1.4 million have at least some difficulty hearing, and about 50% have at least some difficulty seeing.

Once the moratorium ends, these groups of people have the highest risk of being evicted from their homes.

Last year, US Census data showed evidence that people of color more frequently faced evictions than white tenants did.

Women on average face 16% higher rates of eviction than men, a 2020 study by the Eviction Lab said. When broken down by race, the difference is even more drastic.

Between 2012 and 2016, the study says, Black women were evicted about 36 percent more often than Black men.

“There’s the dynamic intersection between poverty and race,” Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project, an organization that aims to advance housing justice for poor people and communities, previously told Insider.

Researchers say there are several reasons why women might be evicted at higher rates than men.

One study, for example, found that men have a tendency to share personal conflicts like a job loss or health issue with their landlord directly while women generally keep to themselves, especially when either group deals with predominantly male landlords.

“The interaction between predominantly male landlords and female tenants,” that same study says, is “a culprit and often turns on gender dynamics.”

And in general, single mothers are more vulnerable to economic disadvantages and financial difficulties.

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Florida nightlife is going wild and college students refuse to stop the party even as the Delta variant of the coronavirus rips through the state

A crowd of people parties in a nightclub
In Florida, some students are vowing that, even as the Delta variant of the coronavirus surges, the party just won’t stop.

  • The state of Florida is saturated with the highly-transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
  • Meanwhile, colleges across the state are preparing to open their doors for the fall semester.
  • Undergrads at schools statewide told Insider that their plans to keep partying aren’t slowing down.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On a recent Saturday night in July, the vibrations of EDM music pulsating from bars and nightclubs along Atlantic Avenue drifted into the palm fronds and sliced through the humid Florida air.

In the heart of Palm Beach County, a throng of 20-somethings snaked down the block outside The Office, a local nightlife venue in Delray Beach, poised to elbow their way toward the crowded bar and order rounds of shots.

Across the road at Taverna Opa, another late-night party scene, a DJ spun some tracks to a crowd of dozens as belly dancers stood on top of wooden tables and swerved through the air.

During the worst surges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida hotspots like these have counted on the loyalty of one oftentimes carefree constituency: local college students who, come Saturday night, are ready to get lit.

“I don’t think I can really name a whole lot of people that don’t go out,” Nicole Prescott, 23, a drama student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, told Insider. She’s noticed that masks have been a rarity throughout the spring and summer on the few occasions she’s gone out with friends since receiving her Pfizer shots.

“Being so lax about protocols and just letting people go through life however they want with COVID is really dangerous,” she added.

Across Florida, the highly-transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus is surging. As of July 30, more than 38,000 new COVID cases were reported in the state, versus 2,319 one month before, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.

On a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map which designates counties as red zones if they’ve experienced high levels of community spread, all of Florida is illustrated in crimson. Less than half of the adult population has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Nevertheless, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed an executive order in May which ended all mask mandates local governments in the state had imposed on their residents. In September, he rolled back restrictions on restaurants’ operating capacity, months before vaccines were available.

On Friday, DeSantis issued another executive order, this one prohibiting schools from requiring mask-wearing in the classroom, even after the CDC recommended this week that K-12 students and staff do exactly the opposite.

‘They’re just going out and not caring at all’

Insider interviewed seven undergrads from five universities throughout the state: the University of Miami, the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida State University in Tallahassee, Palm Beach State College, and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

In spite of the virus’ growing threat, the consensus from these students was that the party is far from over.

For Brianna Pope, 20, a Palm Beach State College nursing major, the nightclubs in Fort Lauderdale’s cosmopolitan Las Olas district are the most tempting draw.

Weekend nights out typically begin around 10 P.M., she told Insider. On the dance floors of popular hotspots, masks aren’t part of the dress code.

“They’re just going out and not caring at all,” Pope said. “When you go down there, there’s really no one wearing masks or anyone taking precautions.”

Schools vary on requirements for masking or social distancing as the semester begins

The University of Florida, a state school in Gainesville, is known as much for its athletic culture as for its undergrads’ hard-charging party scene.

In an emailed statement on Saturday, a spokesperson for the university told Insider that classes will resume in-person this semester without physical distancing. Wearing masks will be optional, though vaccines are highly encouraged for students, faculty, and staff.

At Palm Beach State College, which operates multiple sites throughout the county, the school strongly recommends face coverings on campus, inside classrooms and offices, and outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible, according to an internal email sent in late July by administrators which reviewed by Insider.

Spokespersons for Palm Beach State College did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Saturday.

Fears are mounting over what the fall semester could bring

The very real prospect of coronavirus outbreaks in student residences has some housing administrators putting preemptive restrictions into place.

Insider reviewed an email sent by Shawn Woodin, president and CEO of the Southern Scholarship Foundation, which provides off-campus housing for 470 students in cities including Tallahassee and Gainesville.

The email, sent on July 29, informed students that face coverings would be required within any of its 26 housing sites where fewer than 80% of residents are fully vaccinated. Having guests will be forbidden in any of those houses.

When reached by phone on Saturday, Woodin told Insider that fewer than 50% of residents ages 18-23 reported that they had been fully inoculated against the virus, based on data he’d reviewed.

“Based on the spring semester, I know that, as college students, some of our residents were going to parties, gatherings, that should have not have happened,” Woodin said. “Will those behaviors continue? I hope not, but it’s likely some of our residents will.”

Nevertheless, some students are wary of what the autumn semester may have in store as school gets underway.

“Some students might ignore the CDC guidelines and prioritize having fun,” said Daniel Gallup, 20, a student at the University of Florida who received the Pfizer vaccine in March.

“But I’m going to follow the recommendations,” he added, “because going out isn’t worth getting sick and spreading it to anyone else, especially people I care about.”

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SolarWinds hack targeted nearly 2 dozen federal prosecutors offices, including some of the most influential in the country like the Eastern District of New York

department of justice building
  • The emails of federal prosecutors’ offices around the country were hacked by Russian intelligence during the SolarWinds cyber attack.
  • The Russian hackers had access to the emails of federal prosecutors in New York, California, DC and other jurisdictions from May to December 2020.
  • The Justice Department released the update to “increase transparency” with the public as it continues to investigate the hacking.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Federal US prosecutors were among targets of the Russian hackers behind the 2020 SolarWinds cyber attack, the Justice Department said on Friday.

According to the update, the SolarWinds hackers breached the Department’s Microsoft O365 email accounts, which included the mailboxes of federal prosecutors from New York, Los Angeles, and prominent offices in 13 other states.

At least one employee email at each of the affected district offices was hacked, and at least 80% of employees in the four major US attorneys’ New York district offices — the Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern — had their accounts hacked, the DOJ said. Hackers gained access to all sent, received, and stored emails and attachments in those accounts, though it is unclear which information the hackers took.

“New York is the financial center of the world and those districts are particularly well known for investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to the former president,” Bruce Green, a Fordham Law School professor, told the Associated Press.

US federal investigators said Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) was responsible for installing malicious malware into SolarWinds’ Orion software in 2020. The US information technology firm has more than 300,000 clients, including US government agencies and the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies.

The group is believed to have had access to the emails from May to December of last year.

After learning these accounts were hacked, the Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer cut off the channel the hackers used to the Microsoft Office accounts, notified the affected parties and the public, and is continuing to monitor the security risks associated with the hack.

The Justice Department released the update to “encourage transparency and strengthen homeland resilience,” and so that others can “use that information to prepare themselves for the next threat,” the updated statement said.

The US Department of Justice could not be reached at the time of publication.

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Progressive Cori Bush says ‘some Democrats went on vacation instead’ of preventing the eviction moratorium from expiring

Cori Bush
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.

  • Rep. Cori Bush on Saturday accused Democrats of leaving for vacation before passing legislation that would have renewed the eviction moratorium.
  • About 7.4 million Americans are at risk of eviction in the next two months after the moratorium ends July 31.
  • The House failed to pass a bill that would have extended the moratorium and members are now on recess until August.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Cori Bush slammed Democrats, saying they decided to take a recess ahead of the upcoming eviction moratorium deadline, potentially plunging millions of renters into a state of disarray.

“We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead,” Bush, a progressive representative from Missouri, said on Twitter Saturday morning.

“We slept at the Capitol last night to ask them to come back and do their jobs. Today’s their last chance. We’re still here,” she added, including a picture of her and several activists outside the Capitol building.

Hours after failing to pass a bill that would have extended the eviction moratorium, the House on Friday entered a recess that’ll last until August.

The eviction moratorium, set up in September 2020 in response to the financial devastation brought on by the coronavirus, was extended in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The White House encouraged Congress to extend the moratorium past July, giving guidance to do so at the last minute. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the Biden administration would have “strongly supported” the CDC in a decision to renew the moratorium. But a Supreme Court ruling specified that the decision to renew required congressional approval, the White House statement said.

Democrats unanimously voted to pass the bill, but Republican House members blocked the legislation.

After the bill failed, top Democrats expressed their disappointment in a statement.

“It is extremely disappointing that House and Senate Republicans have refused to work with us on this issue,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Majority whip James Clyburn after the vote failed. “We strongly urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and instead join with us to help renters and landlords hit hardest by the pandemic and prevent a nationwide eviction crisis.”

Once the moratorium expires on July 31, about 7.4 million Americans will risk eviction in the next two months. That translates to about 16% of all renters, according to Census Pulse Survey Data.

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Nancy Pelosi says the House won’t vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal until after the Senate passes a larger package

nancy pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  • Nancy Pelosi says the House won’t vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package until the Senate passes a separate $3.5 trillion package.
  • “We all know that more needs to be done,” she offered in an appearance on ABC on Sunday.
  • GOP Senator Rob Portman says Pelosi’s stance contradicts President Biden’s efforts to pass the bipartisan deal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On Sunday in separate appearances on ABC, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ohio Senator Rob Portman offered up opposing viewpoints on the timeline of passing a bipartisan infrastructure package.

Pelosi reinforced her stance to hold up the $1 trillion agreement as Democrats work to finalize a separate $3.5 trillion spending package, in hopes that they both get passed together.

“We are rooting for the infrastructure bill to pass, but we all know that more needs to be done,” she said.

During his own interview on ABC, Portman, a Republican and one of the leading negotiators on the bipartisan package, called Pelosi’s stance”entirely counter” to President Joe Biden’s commitment to bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate, adding that $1 trillion infrastructure bill “has nothing to do with the reckless tax-and-spend extravaganza (Pelosi’s) talking about.”

The $1 trillion infrastructure package contains a total of $579 billion in new spending dedicated to increasing broadband connections nationwide as well as updating bridges and roads.

Earlier in the week, however, Republican Senators voted against that same infrastructure bill they’d previously come to an agreement on with the White House, citing concerns over an extra $40 billion in IRS funding.

According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, Senator Lindsay Graham went further by encouraging Republican members to leave DC in efforts to prevent Senate Democrats from having the 51 senators required to operate, which is called a quorum.

If the Democrats are successful, the agreement would total $4.1 trillion in new spending, making it one of the largest spending bills ever advanced by Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion package would pay for social program expansions including Medicare coverage for dental and vision care.

Leading senate negotiators Portman and Mitt Romney said they may be ready to vote on the $1 trillion package on Monday, after disagreements including the $40 billion in IRS spending are ironed out.

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