The United States presidential election is in 7 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Trump, Biden battle for crucial Pennsylvania
Biden, who grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, leads Trump in the swing state by about seven points in an average of polls since October 12 and nine percentage points nationally, 52 percent to 43 percent.
“It’s a choice between a Trump boom or a Biden lockdown,” Trump claimed Monday in reference to the impact of the coronavirus and how he will do more to get the hard-hit U.S. economy going again.
The U.S. president again rejected Biden’s comments that the United States is facing a “dark winter” because of the virus that has claimed more than 225,000 lives in America. “No, it’s not going to be a dark winter. It’s going to be a great winter. It’s going to be a great spring,” Trump said.
“Pennsylvanians have lost jobs and lost lives under President Trump’s failed leadership,” Biden, who opted for a small gathering as opposed to Trump’s large rallies due to the virus, said in a statement. “As I told union members and families in Pennsylvania this weekend, as president, I’m going to shut down the virus and safely open up the economy.”
b. ‘I am home’: Biden’s Pa. roots could run from a Scranton kitchen table to the presidency – York Daily Record
2. No deal reached on another stimulus bill
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday failed again to bridge their differences on a new economic stimulus package at a time when the U.S. economy is facing a renewed surge in Covid-19 cases.
“We continue to eagerly await the Administration’s acceptance of our health language,” including the testing strategy, Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted Monday:
“Ten days after Secretary Mnuchin went on CNBC to declare that he was accepting our testing plan, the Administration still refuses to do so,” Pelosi said in a letter to her fellow House Democrats on Monday.”
Hamill said Pelosi remains “optimistic” about reaching a deal before Election Day on November 3. But that is highly unlikely as lawmakers have started returning to their states for last-minute campaigning.
“To do anything that does not crush the virus is really official malfeasance,” Pelosi has said about a relief package that also is set to put $1,200 in the pockets of every U.S. taxpayer.
3. Senate set to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court
The U.S. Senate’s expected confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett Monday to the U.S. Supreme Court solidifies a 6-3 conservative majority on the court and allows U.S. President Donald Trump to claim his three appointees helped turn the court further to the right.
Barrett will face some interesting cases right from the start, including one involving the person who appointed her to the court. The justices are expected to soon consider whether a New York prosecutor will get access to Trump’s financial documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including his tax returns.
But the major case that has drawn liberals’ concern about Barrett being on the Supreme Court involves the Affordable Care Act and mandated individual coverage, as well as coverage for preexisting conditions. The court has twice upheld the act.
Liberals are concerned that Barrett and other conservative justices will decide that the ACA and/or vital parts of it are unconstitutional.
4. Biden making surprising push for Georgia
No Democrat has won the Southern state of Georgia since Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, in 1992.
But polls are showing a tightening race in the state between Joe Biden and his Republican opponent, U.S. President Donald Trump, who won the state by five percentage points in 2016.
In a poll published Monday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Biden had a one percentage point lead over Trump.
Biden is scheduled to visit the state Tuesday in an effort to galvanize voters and win Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. Jill Biden, the former vice president’s wife, campaigned in Macon and Savannah on Monday:
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, attended a rally aimed at early voters last week as Georgia has seen record-breaking numbers of them this election with a 121% increase compared to 2016:
“What in essence is happening here is, Republicans are dying, and their grandchildren are voting Democratic,” Charles Bullock, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia, told Al Jazeera. “Wherever you look, you see Democrats rebounding. They haven’t reached majority status yet, but the numbers are moving in that direction.”
a. Can Democrats, Biden win in a changing South? – Al.com
b. Can Democrats, Biden win in a changing South? – CBS News
5. Trump administration in legal battle over pandemic food aid
Residents of Pennsylvania and California have sued the Trump administration’s Agriculture Department in federal court from blocking them from receiving millions of dollars in emergency food aid during the coronavirus pandemic.
The legal dispute centers on how the department has interpreted language in the nearly $200 billion Families First Coronavirus Response Act that Congress passed in March.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that it’s simply following the law.
However, its policy has already kept roughly $480 million in nutrition assistance out of Pennsylvania, according to a Politico analysis of court filings.
“It’s cruel that USDA interpreted it in such an inequitable way,” Kathy Fisher, policy director at the Coalition Against Hunger in Philadelphia, told the publication.
a. Hunger-Fighting Groups Raise Concerns about Trump Letter – Public News Service