House Democrats passed a bill to repeal Trump’s travel bans

Even amid the pandemic, House Democrats are keeping a focus on President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda: They passed a bill on Wednesday that would repeal the travel ban on citizens of 13 countries and limit his authority to issue such sweeping bans in the future.

The bill — the “NO BAN Act,” which passed 233-183 — will almost certainly go nowhere in Republican-led Senate, where several Democrat-led immigration bills have languished. But it allows Democrats to contrast themselves with Trump ahead of the presidential election and present themselves as a party that welcomes immigrants, rather than keeping them out.

The …

What to make of Trump’s “new tone” at the Covid-19 briefings

President Trump was back in front of the cameras on Tuesday to brief the nation on the state of the US coronavirus response for the first time in weeks.

“The China virus is vicious and dangerous. We have learned a great deal about it and who it targets,” he said. “We’re in the process of developing a strategy that is going to be very, very powerful.”

It was a chance for the president to present his own narrative after the wave of negative news headlines about rising Covid-19 cases and deaths. And it became a showcase for the new, …

The US-China “cold war” reaches Houston

The United States has ordered China’s consulate in Houston closed by Friday, an escalatory step that deepens the relationship crisis between the world’s top powers and opens up a new front in their burgeoning cold war.

In an early Wednesday morning statement, the State Department accused China of spying and launching influence operations around America, including targeting US government officials. Therefore, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, the US ordered China’s Houston diplomatic office closed “in order to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information.” But Ortagus didn’t specify how, exactly, the move would hinder China’s intelligence gathering in …

What scientists have learned so far about Covid-19 immunity

Covid-19 continues to confound us all, with a growing list of symptoms, unexpected modes of transmission, and a wide range of outcomes, from benign to severe.

More than 600,000 people around the world have been killed by the virus, as of July 22. And for many survivors, Covid-19 is becoming a long-term condition too, with symptoms lasting for months.

Yet the majority of people infected with the virus recover on their own. And without a vaccine or much in the way of treatment options, the human immune system — a vast network of cells and tissues — …

What Republicans and Democrats want in the next stimulus package

Congress doesn’t have much time as it weighs a compromise over the next phase of coronavirus stimulus.

With expanded unemployment insurance benefits sunsetting after July 31, lawmakers are under immense pressure to approve an extension — along with a number of other stimulus provisions — before 33 million people find themselves without the federal money they have relied on for months to pay their bills.

Republicans and Democrats are on track to begin negotiating a new stimulus bill in earnest, although the parties are currently quite far apart: Democrats are prioritizing the extension of expanded unemployment insurance (UI) and additional …