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Meet the senators who will be in charge if Dems win the Senate – POLITICO

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/27/senate-democrats-lead-if-biden-wins-432269

Meet the senators who will be in charge if Dems win the Senate - POLITICO

Potential committee chairs include 79-year-old Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at Budget; 80-year-old Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) at Appropriations; 87-year-old Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at Judiciary; Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) at Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Mark Warner (D-Va.) at Intelligence; and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) at Foreign Relations.

The disparate group shows how seniority pays off in the Senate, where if you last long enough, you can end up with a gavel.

Democrats will tackle a wide array of issues if they control the chamber come January. For starters, they are expected to begin rolling back many of the Trump administration’s actions — on everything from climate change to immigration, health care and taxes. And Democrats, likely with a fellow party member in the Oval Office, would push their own progressive agenda, including oversight of tech giants, infrastructure, energy and environmental programs.

Here’s who would have critical roles in a Democratic-controlled Senate.

Robert Menendez

Often an antagonist of the progressive left when it comes to foreign policy, Menendez would reclaim the Foreign Relations Committee’s gavel, which he held from 2013-15. The New Jersey Democrat was acquitted on federal corruption charges two years ago, and he has challenged the Trump administration on an array of national security crises that have arisen over the past four years, including the president’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of northern Syria.

In an interview, Menendez said he wants to “restore the centrality of the committee and its importance in foreign policy” — the panel has largely taken a back seat in recent years — and will prioritize a “rebuilding” of the State Department, which has seen its budget reduced.

Ron Wyden

In a Democratic Senate, the Oregon senator would take the reins of the Finance Committee, a powerful panel that had a critical role in shepherding the GOP tax cuts through the chamber. Under a President Biden, Democrats would roll back many of those tax cuts— and Wyden will play a pivotal role in making that happen.

Wyden said in an interview that he has discussed the subject with Biden’s team. He also wants to focus on pandemic relief, which remains stalled.

“We’re going to make sure that the lesson of the Great Recession is learned — you don’t take your foot off the gas in the middle of an economic recovery,” Wyden said of his potential chairmanship.

Dianne Feinstein

Whether Feinstein is chair of the Judiciary Committee in the 117th Congress is still an open question, although it seems unlikely at this point after her performance during the past several weeks.

The California Democrat infuriated progressive outside groups during the panel’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett for being civil and deferential to the nominee and Republicans when the left — furious over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rush to fill the seat before Election Day — wanted the exact opposite. There remains speculation about whether Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will replace Feinstein atop the committee, or whether she will step down of her own volition. Feinstein’s retirement is another possibility. Neither Feinstein nor her office would comment about her future on the panel.

If Feinstein does leave, Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is next in line, although Democratic Caucus rules may prevent him from serving in leadership and as a committee chair simultaneously. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-R.I.), a former U.S. attorney, is third in line.

Bernie Sanders

This is a fascinating scenario. The most liberal senator and former White House hopeful, a lawmaker who has long espoused the dramatic expansion of the federal government’s role in average Americans’ lives, is set to take over the Budget Committee gavel. Yet the federal deficit topped $3 trillion this year and is the largest since World War II, and the U.S. economy remains in tatters due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sanders wants to reshape the focus of the Budget panel. “We’d create a budget that works for working families, and not the billionaire class,” Sanders said in a brief interview when asked about his agenda if he took over as chair. And if Schumer and the Democrats don’t get rid of the filibuster, Sanders’ committee would be involved in crafting reconciliation bills, allowing a potential Biden administration to push tax and spending bills through the Senate on a simple-majority vote.

However, if Biden wins, Sanders might not be in the Senate for long. POLITICO reported that Sanders has expressed interest in becoming Labor secretary in a possible Biden administration. But that’s far from certain, especially because Vermont’s Republican governor, Phil Scott, would be able to appoint a temporary replacement to Sanders’ seat.

Mark Warner

As vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner has maintained strong relationships across the aisle with the previous chair, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and the current acting chair, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Even as the Intelligence Committee has been the epicenter of several Trump-related controversies over the past four years — most notably stemming from Russia’s interference in the 2016 election — Warner has avoided the partisan jabs that have defined the panel’s counterpart across the Capitol, the House Intelligence Committee.

If he becomes chair, the Virginia Democrat will play a critical role in shepherding national security nominees through the Senate — including a director of national intelligence and CIA director — who are not loyal to a political party or a president.

Maria Cantwell

The former tech industry executive, now in her fourth term, is in line to take over the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee if Democrats are victorious. Cantwell, of Washington state, is cautious about efforts to rein in Big Tech, or break up Google, Amazon or Facebook, and she wants to hear more on antitrust concerns surrounding the tech giants.

“I don’t care who’s in charge next time, I’m going to be talking about how we realize that we’re in an information age and we prepare for the future,” Cantwell said in an interview. “We have a president that basically is ignoring the fact, just like along with the pandemic, instead of realizing we’re in a global economy and an information age and we need to make some adjustments to make sure there are rules in the marketplace and that you invest in job training and education and disruption techniques — smoothing out disruptions.”

Cantwell added: “But I’m a believer we live in this age, not that you can deny it or put your head in the sand. So I don’t care who’s in charge, we’re going to focus on that.”

Cantwell and Commerce Democrats are releasing a report soon analyzing the impact the tech giants have had on local journalism. Hundreds of local and regional newspapers have disappeared as ad revenue has dried up, while Google and Facebook dominate the online ad market. This issue has become a major concern for those worried that the death of local papers is a threat to democracy.

Sherrod Brown

Brown is an old-school blue-collar Democrat who has spent most of his life in public office. But it’s clear the financial services industry may not love Brown as chair of the Banking panel. In 2014, when it looked like the Ohio Democrat may become chair, industry officials called it “frightening.” Six years later, it may be just as scary to them, although progressive Democrats would love it.

Brown, who has made a focus of his career pushing for more affordable housing for the middle class, has called for dramatically ramping up rental assistance during the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. And he’s been outspoken on efforts by the Trump administration to weaken fair housing protections. Look for Brown to push both issues if he gets the gavel.

“First thing: We do a major emergency rental assistance. I mean it’s all about housing. The word housing has essentially been left out of that committee the last three or four years. So it’s all about that,” he said.

Brown clashed with Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and moderate Banking Committee Democrats in 2018 over efforts to weaken Dodd-Frank, the landmark financial regulatory bill. Brown lost that fight, but he won’t lose many more as chair.

Patrick Leahy

Another old-school politician, Leahy has been serving in the Senate since 1975. If Democrats retake the majority, Leahy would become yet again the Senate’s president pro tempore — the senior-most member of the majority party, a position that puts him third in line to the presidency behind the speaker of the House and vice president.

Perhaps most important, though, Leahy would become chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. He and his counterpart, fellow octogenarian Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), have a productive working relationship and have shown that they can cut bipartisan deals together.

Leahy’s ascension to the helm of the Appropriations panel also underscores the role of seniority in the Senate. With Leahy atop Appropriations and Sanders chairing Budget, a small state like Vermont would have an outsize impact on federal spending, and it would almost certainly guarantee additional funds for the state.

Patty Murray

Murray, a member of Senate Democratic leadership, would take control of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the principal health care panel in the Senate. With the issue dominating recent elections — including this year’s cycle — the Washington state Democrat would be the face of the party’s efforts to protect and expand on the Affordable Care Act, which has come under assault from the Trump administration.

If Biden wins the White House, the Justice Department will likely drop its effort to invalidate the 2010 law in court, and Biden will work with Senate Democrats to develop a plan that vastly expands Obamacare, including the likely addition of a public option.

Gary Peters

Facing his own reelection fight, the Michigan Democrat’s ascension to the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is not yet certain. But Peters’ goals for the committee, if he becomes chair, are simple: restore bipartisanship.

The committee, the Senate’s chief bipartisan oversight body, has devolved into chaos and distrust over Chair Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) efforts to investigate Trump’s political enemies, including the Biden family and former top Obama administration officials.

Peters tends to lay low in the Senate and tout his bipartisan credentials, but he has been forced to take on a role of pushing back against Johnson’s investigations, which he says are politically motivated and intended to boost Trump’s prospects in the election.

“I take great pride in finding ways to work in a bipartisan way,” Peters said in a brief interview. “And the committee has traditionally always worked that way.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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Texans QB Deshaun Watson, Rams WR Robert Woods lead Players of the Week – NFL.com

https://www.nfl.com/news/texans-qb-deshaun-watson-rams-wr-robert-woods-lead-players-of-the-week

Texans QB Deshaun Watson, Rams WR Robert Woods lead Players of the Week - NFL.com

Against a terrific defense, Los Angeles Rams receiver Robert Woods hauled in a huge outing and NFC Offensive Player of the Week after keying a 27-24 L.A. victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. Woods had 12 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns is quickly becoming one of the most promising pass rushers around and turned in a performance worth of NFC Defensive Player of the Week. In the Panthers’ 20-0 triumph over the Detroit Lions, Burns produced five tackles, two sacks, a tackle for loss and a pass defended.

Washington Football Team punter Tress Way was booming on Sunday in his team’s 20-9 win over the Cincinnati Bengals with a gross average of 50.4 yards (46.6 net) over his five puns and three of them landed inside the 20. For his efforts, Way was recognized as NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

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Ethiopias prime minister urges world leaders to avoid ‘interference’ in Tigray conflict – Fox News

https://www.foxnews.com/world/ethiopias-prime-minister-urges-international-community-refrain-from-interference-in-war

Ethiopias prime minister urges world leaders to avoid ‘interference’ in Tigray conflict - Fox News

Ethiopia’s prime minister is rejecting growing international consensus for dialogue and a halt to deadly fighting in the Tigray region as “unwelcome,” saying his country will handle the conflict on its own as a 72-hour surrender ultimatum runs out on Wednesday.

“We respectfully urge the international community to refrain from any unwelcome and unlawful acts of interference,” the statement from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said as government forces encircled the Tigray capital, Mekele, with tanks. “The international community should stand by until the government of Ethiopia submits its requests for assistance to the community of nations.”

WITH ETHIOPIA ON BRINK OF ESCALATION, DIPLOMACY IN DOUBT

The government led by Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, has warned Mekele’s half-million residents to move away from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front leaders or there will be “no mercy” — language that the United Nations human rights chief and others have warned could lead to “further violations of international humanitarian law.”

But communications remain almost completely severed to the Tigray region of some 6 million people, and it is not clear how many people in Mekele are aware of the warnings and the threat of artillery fire.

Diplomats on Tuesday said U.N. Security Council members in a closed-door meeting expressed support for an African Union-led effort to deploy three high-level envoys to Ethiopia. But Ethiopia has said the envoys cannot meet with the TPLF leaders.

“This conflict is already seriously destabilizing the region,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Tuesday after meeting with Ethiopia’s foreign minister.

“Both sides should immediately begin dialogue facilitated by the AU,” the national security adviser for U.S. president-elect Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, tweeted.

The Tigray regional leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, could not immediately be reached Wednesday as tensions were high among Mekele’s residents.

The TPLF dominated Ethiopia’s government for more than a quarter-century, but was sidelined after Abiy took office in 2018 and sought to centralize power. The TPLF opted out when Abiy dissolved the ruling coalition, then infuriated the federal government by holding an election in September after national elections were postponed by COVID-19. Each side now regards the other as illegal.

Tigray refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, receive aid from the UNHCR at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Tigray refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, receive aid from the UNHCR at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

One Ethiopian military official claims that more than 10,000 “junta forces” have been “destroyed” since the fighting began on Nov. 4, when Abiy accused the TPLF of attacking a military base. Col. Abate Nigatu told the Amhara Mass Media Agency that more than 15,000 heavy weapons and small arms had been seized.

The international community has urgently called for communications to be restored to the Tigray region so warring sides’ claims can be investigated, and so food and other desperately needed supplies can be sent as hunger grows. The U.N. says it has been unable to send supplies into Tigray and that people there are “terrified.”

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have been killed in three weeks of fighting. More than 40,000 refugees have fled into Sudan. And nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees at camps in northern Tigray have come close to the line of fire.

Misery continues for the refugees in Sudan, with little food, little medicine, little shelter, little funding and little or no contact with loved ones left behind in Tigray. “We are absolutely not ready,” said Suleiman Ali Mousa, the governor of Qadarif province.

“Help us so that we don’t die,” said one refugee, Terhas Adiso. “We came from war. We were scared we were going to die from the war and we came here. We don’t want to die of hunger, disease. If they are going to help us they need to help us quickly. That’s all I am going to say.”

Meanwhile, reports continue of alleged targeting of ethnic Tigrayans, even outside Ethiopia. Three soldiers serving with the U.N. peacekeeping force in South Sudan were ordered home over the weekend, the force said in a statement. The Associated Press has confirmed the repatriated soldiers are Tigrayan.

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“If personnel are discriminated against because of their ethnicity or any other reason, this could involve a human rights violation under international law,” the statement said.

Abiy’s government has said it aims to protect civilians, including Tigrayans, but reports continue of arrests, discrimination, house-to-house searches and frozen bank accounts.

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Coronavirus updates: First 6.4M doses of COVID vaccine likely in December; CDC may change quarantine guidelines; US death toll nears 260K – USA TODAY

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/11/25/covid-news-new-mexico-stimulus-pfizer-vaccine-thanksgiving/6414044002/

Coronavirus updates: First 6.4M doses of COVID vaccine likely in December; CDC may change quarantine guidelines; US death toll nears 260K - USA TODAY

Federal government officials said the first 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed to U.S. communities as early as December within 24 hours of approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

But the U.S. recorded its highest daily death toll since May on Tuesday, and experts warned that good vaccine news doesn’t mean Americans should let down their guard over the holidays.

Several state restrictions go into effect Wednesday just hours before the Thanksgiving holiday, including a ban on alcohol sales at restaurants and bars in Pennsylvania. State health officials ordered restaurants and bars to not sell alcohol starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday until 8 a.m. Thursday in an effort to prevent social gatherings.

“It turns out the biggest day for drinking is the day before Thanksgiving,” Gov. Tom Wolf said at a news conference this week. “When people get together in that situation, it leads to the exchange of fluids that leads to the increase in infection.”

Overseas, British authorities relaxed restrictions on social gatherings to allow people to celebrate the Christmas holiday with friends and family. Officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland created a holiday plan to allow up to three households to create a “Christmas bubble” Dec. 23-27.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 12.5 million cases and over 259,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 59.9 million cases and 1.4 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

📚What we’re reading: Here’s why this Harvard doctor is optimistic about US overcoming COVID-19 despite “epidemic of mistrust.”

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

Coronavirus updates: First 6.4M doses of COVID vaccine likely in December; CDC may change quarantine guidelines; US death toll nears 260K - USA TODAY

LA outdoor dining ban to go into effect

A reinstated ban on outdoor dining in Los Angeles County can go into effect Wednesday, a judge ruled, after a restaurant industry group had tried to block the restriction.

The California Restaurant Association challenged the order issued Sunday that prohibited outdoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars and asked county health officials to provide medical or scientific evidence that it poses an unreasonable risk to public health.

The county’s Board of Supervisors also considered blocking the ban but failed to garner enough support. The Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of a resolution to urge county officials to rescind the ban but that vote was nonbinding.

The rule is now set to go into effect Wednesday and will limit restaurants in the nation’s most populous county to takeout and delivery.

US records highest daily death toll since May with more than 2,000

More than 2,100 people died in the U.S. because of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll since May.

Deaths have been steadily rising since October but hadn’t surpassed 2,000 in a day since May 6, when more than 2,300 people died, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The at least 2,146 people who died Tuesday translates to roughly one death every 40 seconds in the United States.

More than 172,000 new cases were added Tuesday, too, according to Hopkins’ data.

Fauci has a final Thanksgiving message for Americans

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued his final Thanksgiving message for Americans as COVID-19 cases surge and dinner tables are still expected to fill up.

“The final message is to do what really we’ve been saying now for some time, is to the extent possible, keep the gatherings, the indoor gatherings, as small as you possibly can,” Fauci said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.”

“By making that sacrifice, you’re going to prevent people from getting infected,” he added. “A sacrifice now could save lives and illness and make the future much brighter as we get through this.”

27 virus deaths at Illinois veterans nursing home

Illinois officials will investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans nursing home after 27 veterans died and nearly 200 residents and staff members tested positive.

Illinois’ Department of Veterans’ Affairs requested an independent probe into the facility after the outbreak was first spotted in late October.

“The tragedy of what has unfolded at the veterans’ home cannot be understated,” said State Senator Sue Rezin, who represents the district where the home is located.

Ravens log more COVID cases, but Thanksgiving Steelers game still on

The Baltimore Ravens canceled Tuesday’s practice after learning in the morning that additional players had tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed that running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins had tested positive for COVID-19. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams was also listed as a close contact and placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that five Ravens players and four staff members had tested positive this week.

Baltimore is scheduled to face the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers on the road on Thanksgiving evening. The NFL is not planning on rescheduling the game at this time. 

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Europe’s virus cases are slowing

The World Health Organization said COVID-19 cases in Europe are slowing down despite it still being the region with the biggest proportion of new cases and deaths around the world.

New cases dropped by 6% in Europe over the last week, the WHO said. And that’s after a 10% decline the previous week. However, the virus death rate continues to rise, and more than 67,000 new deaths were reported.

  • France: President Emmanuel Macron laid out new rules Tuesday to ease France’s partial shutdown, which include allowing the reopening of some shops and houses of worship next week while indoor dining and gyms remain shuttered.
  • Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected Wednesday to extend Germany’s partial shutdown into December. The restrictions have slowed a virus spike, but cases remain at high levels rather than sinking lower.

Singapore nearly virus free

Once a hotspot of cases in southeast Asia, Singapore is virtually virus free after Tuesday marked 14 days without a new local case, Reuters reported.

A few infections from abroad have been recorded, but people in those cases have been immediately isolated. Many cases in Singapore have been tied to infections at dormitories for foreign workers, the news agency reported.

Tuesday also marked the first time there were no live infection clusters across Singapore, Reuters reported. 

The country was one of the first outside of China to report a COVID-19 infection, but it has staved off the worst of the virus and has the lowest case fatality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins data.

CDC pondering quarantine reduction to 7-10 days, report says

In an effort to encourage compliance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may reduce the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to the coronavirus from 14 days to seven to 10, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper said agency officials are putting the final touches on the recommendation, which would require a negative COVID test for the exposed person to exit quarantine.

Henry Walke, the CDC’s incident manager for COVID-19 response, told the Journal that studies have shown effective quarantines can be done in less time than the currently recommended two weeks. Although there’s a chance some infections could be missed, he said there’s a valuable tradeoff to be gained.

“Hopefully people would be better able to adhere to quarantine if it was, for example, seven to 10 days,” he said.   

New Mexico approves $330M relief bill, including stimulus checks

New Mexico lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill that will deliver a one-time $1,200 check to all types of unemployed workers and up to $50,000 for certain businesses.

The bill also provides smaller stimulus checks to immigrants without legal status in the country and dependents, as well as additional funds for food banks, virus testing and contact tracing efforts.

Most of the proposed spending will be made possible by federal relief funding previously assigned to New Mexico, including around $319 million in unspent funds that were expected to expire soon. An additional $10 million in state general funds were allocated for testing and tracing efforts.

The bill allocates $100 million to support businesses with 100 or fewer employees. The New Mexico Finance Authority is tasked with distributing the grants, which can be up to $50,000, and has wide discretion about whom to choose. It’s instructed to focus on the service industry.

Texas judge implements new shelter-at-home curfew in El Paso

Judge Ricardo Samaniego implemented a new curfew to combat the surge of COVID-19 cases in El Paso, Texas. The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew goes into effect Wednesday and will last until Monday.

However, unlike his previous curfew, people would not be barred from going to businesses outside those hours, Samaniego told the El Paso Times Monday.

The curfew sends a message that “we are serious about this and have to do something” to curb the rise in cases, he said. Even if the COVID-19 numbers go down, it’s still a serious problem in El Paso County based on existing cases, he said.

“It is a shelter-at-home order. Residents are encouraged to stay at home,” Samaniego said. “We want no more than 10 people to gather together in public or at home.”

– Aaron A. Bedoya, El Paso Times

A sign at the entrance to a park on Tuesday warns pedestrians about increased risk for the coronavirus in the Ironbound section of Newark, N.J.

OAN suspended from YouTube for COVID misinformation

One America News Network, a right-wing cable network touted by President Donald Trump, has been suspended from YouTube after repeatedly posting misinformation about COVID-19.

“After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there’s a guaranteed cure,” Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson, said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.

Citing repeated violations of YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy, Choi said OANN’s account has also been suspended from the program that allows it to monetize its channel.

The network, also known as OAN, has developed a reputation for airing baseless conspiracy theories and spreading false information, including about COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election.

– Joel Shannon

Tennessee won’t mandate COVID vaccine in K-12 schools

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines will be optional in the state’s K-12 public schools once they become available.

The Republican governor said vaccines will be very important for Tennessee to “ultimately really be able to handle” the spread of the virus. However, it is a choice he believes people should make on their own.

“Vaccines are a choice and people have the choice and will have the choice in this state as to whether or not they should take that vaccine.”

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines could be available to residents as soon as Dec. 15. Front-line health care workers and first responders will receive the first wave of vaccines.

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY 

Contributing: The Associated Press

Coronavirus updates: First 6.4M doses of COVID vaccine likely in December; CDC may change quarantine guidelines; US death toll nears 260K - USA TODAY

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ViacomCBS sells Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2 billion – CNBC

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/25/viacomcbs-sells-simon-schuster-to-penguin-random-house-for-2-billion.html

ViacomCBS sells Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2 billion - CNBC

Simon & Schuster display at the London Book Fair at Kensington Olympia on the 12th March 2019 in London.

Sam Mellish | In Pictures | Getty Images

ViacomCBS announced Wednesday that it would sell publishing company Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, in a deal worth nearly $2.18 billion

The transaction is expected to close in 2021.

The deal comes after ViacomCBS put the global publisher up for auction, a move it made to divest non-core assets from its company. Proceeds from the deal will be put toward ViacomCBS’s streaming business, fund its dividend and pay down debt. The company also recently sold CNET for $500 million as part of this strategy.

Steaming has become a particularly important avenue for media companies as coronavirus cases have risen and traditional entertainment outlets like movie theaters and theme parks are largely closed to the public or viewed as unsafe destinations.

With Simon & Schuster as part of the company, Bertelsmann’s publishing empire will account for about a third of all books sold in the U.S. The deal would put some of the world’s bestselling authors including John Grisham, Bob Woodward, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen King under the same corporate umbrella.

Simon & Schuster will continue to be managed as a separate publishing unit under Penguin Random House. Jonathan Karp, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, alongside Dennis Eulau, who acts as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the company, will continue to helm the publishing company.

The deal could draw attention from the U.S. Justice Department, as the combined shares of Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House are large enough to dredge up antitrust concerns.

Through Oct. 24, Penguin Random House accounted for around 25% of all print books sold in the U.S. Simon & Schuster accounted for about 9.1%, according to market researcher NPD Group. With Simon & Schuster as part of its portfolio, Bertelsmann’s U.S. market share would jump to around 34%. The second-largest publisher, HarperCollins, comparatively accounts for around 11% of books sold in the U.S.

Since Simon & Schuster has a market share below 20%, the deal would be approvable, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe told reporters, according to multiple media accounts.

Book sales have been particularly robust this year as the coronavirus pandemic has limited other entertainment options. There is also a strong interest in political memoirs and books on social justice. In the nine-month period end Oct. 3, print book sales rose 6.4% from the prior year, according to data from NPD BookScan.

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Another 778,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week – CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/25/economy/unemployment-benefits-coronavirus/index.html

Another 778,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week - CNN
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CNN’s Julia Chatterley explains why she is “crisis ready.””},{“title”:”CNN reporter: ‘Risky gambit’ for Treasury to cut off emergency lending programs”,”duration”:”03:30″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/11/20/treasury-secretary-steven-mnuchin-federal-reserve-emergency-lending-programs-jerome-powell-egan-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/11/20/treasury-secretary-steven-mnuchin-federal-reserve-emergency-lending-programs-jerome-powell-egan-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201120142956-matt-egan-treasury-federal-reserve-emergency-lending-programs-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/11/20/treasury-secretary-steven-mnuchin-federal-reserve-emergency-lending-programs-jerome-powell-egan-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulled the plug on emergency Federal Reserve lending programs, drawing a rare rebuke from the central bank, which said they are needed to support the economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. CNN’s Matt Egan reports.”,”descriptionText”:”US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulled the plug on emergency Federal Reserve lending programs, drawing a rare rebuke from the central bank, which said they are needed to support the economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. CNN’s Matt Egan reports.”},{“title”:”Greenspan on Covid crisis: I’ve never seen anything like this”,”duration”:”04:25″,”sourceName”:”CNNBusiness”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/11/19/alan-greenspan-pandemic-economy.cnnbusiness/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/11/19/alan-greenspan-pandemic-economy.cnnbusiness”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201119064832-alan-greenspan-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/11/19/alan-greenspan-pandemic-economy.cnnbusiness/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan tells CNN’s Julia Chatterley that getting the economy “back to where we were could take a long time.””,”descriptionText”:”Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan tells CNN’s Julia Chatterley that getting the economy “back to where we were could take a long time.””},{“title”:”Weekly initial jobless claims rise to 742,000″,”duration”:”02:25″,”sourceName”:”CNNBusiness”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/11/19/jobless-claims-unemployment-benefits-coronavirus-nov-19.cnnbusiness/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/11/19/jobless-claims-unemployment-benefits-coronavirus-nov-19.cnnbusiness”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201118161239-01-us-unemployment-il-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/11/19/jobless-claims-unemployment-benefits-coronavirus-nov-19.cnnbusiness/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”Another 742,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week. CNN’s Matt Egan reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Another 742,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week. CNN’s Matt Egan reports. “},{“title”:”See Fed chairman’s warning about the economy”,”duration”:”01:48″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/11/12/jerome-powell-federal-reserve-covid-19-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/11/12/jerome-powell-federal-reserve-covid-19-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200609154119-jerome-powell-0212-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/11/12/jerome-powell-federal-reserve-covid-19-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell warns that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the economy.”,”descriptionText”:”Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell warns that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the economy.”},{“title”:”See how Texans are fighting to keep their businesses alive”,”duration”:”02:59″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/10/27/texas-business-owners-economic-loss-lavandera-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/10/27/texas-business-owners-economic-loss-lavandera-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201027085051-texas-mother-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/10/27/texas-business-owners-economic-loss-lavandera-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”/profiles/ed-lavandera-profile” target=”_blank”>Ed Lavanderau003c/a> speaks to Texas business owners and families who are struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”/profiles/ed-lavandera-profile” target=”_blank”>Ed Lavanderau003c/a> speaks to Texas business owners and families who are struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “},{“title”:”Asian Americans facing historic unemployment during pandemic”,”duration”:”03:10″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/10/25/asian-americans-historic-unemployment-xenophobia-walker-pkg-ndwknd-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/10/25/asian-americans-historic-unemployment-xenophobia-walker-pkg-ndwknd-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201023212117-asian-american-businesses-covid-racism-and-xenophobia-large-169.jpeg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/10/25/asian-americans-historic-unemployment-xenophobia-walker-pkg-ndwknd-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/amara-walker” target=”_blank”>Amara Walkeru003c/a> looks at how Asian Americans are facing not only xenophobia as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, but also historic unemployment in the US.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/amara-walker” target=”_blank”>Amara Walkeru003c/a> looks at how Asian Americans are facing not only xenophobia as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, but also historic unemployment in the US.”},{“title”:”‘Have to laugh to keep from crying’: Business owner struggling amid pandemic”,”duration”:”02:51″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/10/24/motorcoach-business-covid-19-crisis-chen-dnt-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/10/24/motorcoach-business-covid-19-crisis-chen-dnt-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201024151423-vpx-georgia-coach-line-owner-screengrab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/10/24/motorcoach-business-covid-19-crisis-chen-dnt-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”One Georgia motorcoach driver who usually makes trips in the triple digits each year has only made eight trips in 2020, and his is just one example of millions of dollars worth of motorcoach vehicles that are parked and unable to make money amid the coronavirus crisis. CNN’s Natasha Chen reports.”,”descriptionText”:”One Georgia motorcoach driver who usually makes trips in the triple digits each year has only made eight trips in 2020, and his is just one example of millions of dollars worth of motorcoach vehicles that are parked and unable to make money amid the coronavirus crisis. CNN’s Natasha Chen reports.”},{“title”:”This fourth-grader doesn’t have WiFi at home. So he walks to school”,”duration”:”01:47″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/10/22/fourth-grader-walk-school-wifi-orig.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/10/22/fourth-grader-walk-school-wifi-orig.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201022155654-01-new-mexico-coronavirus-school-internet-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/10/22/fourth-grader-walk-school-wifi-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”A fourth-grader without internet access at home was caught sitting outside his shuttered school doing homework. CNN speaks to him and his mother.”,”descriptionText”:”A fourth-grader without internet access at home was caught sitting outside his shuttered school doing homework. CNN speaks to him and his mother.”},{“title”:”Restaurant owner: We’re back where we started in March”,”duration”:”03:05″,”sourceName”:”CNNBusiness”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/10/22/restaurant-industry-coronavirus-economy.cnnbusiness/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/10/22/restaurant-industry-coronavirus-economy.cnnbusiness”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201022103725-john-doherty-playwright-irish-pub-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/10/22/restaurant-industry-coronavirus-economy.cnnbusiness/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”While some big chains are turning profits during the pandemic, many independent restaurants don’t have the money to survive. CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich reports on the restaurant industry’s bleak outlook.”,”descriptionText”:”While some big chains are turning profits during the pandemic, many independent restaurants don’t have the money to survive. CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich reports on the restaurant industry’s bleak outlook.”},{“title”:”Fed Chair on stimulus: There’s little risk of overdoing it”,”duration”:”01:34″,”sourceName”:”CNN Business”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/10/06/fed-chair-jerome-powell-coronavirus-economic-outlook-orig.cnn-business/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/10/06/fed-chair-jerome-powell-coronavirus-economic-outlook-orig.cnn-business”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201006115757-jerome-powell-1006-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/10/06/fed-chair-jerome-powell-coronavirus-economic-outlook-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell explains why the US economic recovery is fragile and why more fiscal stimulus is needed.”,”descriptionText”:”Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell explains why the US economic recovery is fragile and why more fiscal stimulus is needed.”},{“title”:”Ohio mom facing eviction: I’m just thinking about my kids”,”duration”:”02:53″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/10/01/columbus-evictions-coronavirus-lah-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/10/01/columbus-evictions-coronavirus-lah-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201001080543-ohio-mom-eviction-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/10/01/columbus-evictions-coronavirus-lah-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”/profiles/kyung-lah-profile” target=”_blank”>Kyung Lahu003c/a> speaks to families in Columbus, Ohio, who are faced with the possibility of home evictions as the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic have left many unemployed. “,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”/profiles/kyung-lah-profile” target=”_blank”>Kyung Lahu003c/a> speaks to families in Columbus, Ohio, who are faced with the possibility of home evictions as the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic have left many unemployed. “},{“title”:”Inside the US shale crisis”,”duration”:”02:48″,”sourceName”:”CNNBusiness”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/09/10/us-shale-crisis-oil.cnnbusiness/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/09/10/us-shale-crisis-oil.cnnbusiness”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200910095752-texas-oil-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/09/10/us-shale-crisis-oil.cnnbusiness/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”The US shale boom has come to an abrupt halt as Covid-19 undermined prices and forced hundreds of big and small companies into bankruptcy. CNN’s John Defterios explores the impact.”,”descriptionText”:”The US shale boom has come to an abrupt halt as Covid-19 undermined prices and forced hundreds of big and small companies into bankruptcy. CNN’s John Defterios explores the impact.”},{“title”:”Millions of Americans are out of work. Why is the stock market soaring?”,”duration”:”03:06″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”cnn.com/business”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/08/31/ws-unemployment-js-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”business/2020/08/31/ws-unemployment-js-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200828142909-20200828-tech-logos-wall-street-thumbnail-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/business/2020/08/31/ws-unemployment-js-orig.cnn/video/playlists/business-economy/”,”description”:”CNN’s Jon Sarlin explains why just looking at the stock market at a time of mass unemployment isn’t good enough. “,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Jon Sarlin explains why just looking at the stock market at a time of mass unemployment isn’t good enough. “}],’js-video_headline-featured-5ki7h5′,”,”js-video_source-featured-5ki7h5″,true,true,’business-economy’);if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length

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