In our news wrap Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court -- and sent it on to the full Senate. All 12 Republicans voted in favor, while all 10 Democrats boycotted the vote. Also, Republicans in North Carolina have asked the Supreme Court to disallow an extended deadline for accepting absentee ballots.
In the day's other news: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, and sent it to the full Senate. All 12 Republicans voted in favor, while all 10 Democrats on the committee boycotted the vote.
Instead, they displayed at their seats pictures of people said to have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. They contend Barrett would vote to overturn the act.
Republican John Cornyn denounced the boycott.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas:
I just want to comment on the pictures that are in their chairs, like this is some sort of sporting event during COVID-19. And rather than show up and do their job, they choose to continue the theater that was part of the — of the hearing.
Democrats defended their actions and condemned Republicans for rushing through the nomination so close to the election.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke outside the Capitol, as demonstrators shouted in the background.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:
Chairman Graham just steamrolled over them, just like the Republican majority has steamrolled over principle, fairness, honesty, truth, and decency in their rush to confirm a justice.
The Senate's Republican majority now plans a rare weekend session, allowing for a final confirmation vote on Barrett on Monday.
The Supreme Court has stepped in again on election rules. The justices on Wednesday blocked a lower court order that permitted curbside voting in Alabama as a way of fighting the pandemic and assisting those with disabilities. The vote was 5-3.
And, today, Republicans in North Carolina asked the High Court to disallow an extended deadline for accepting absentee ballots.
And on the pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration today approved the first drug to treat COVID-19. The antiviral medication remdesivir can cut recovery time by approximately five days. It had been authorized for emergency use since last spring.
Another 787,000 U.S. workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. That was down from the previous week, but still historically high.
Meanwhile, talks continued in Washington on new economic relief. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they are close.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:
We continue to be engaged in negotiations. And I am hopeful that we will be able to reach agreement. Help is on the way. It will be bigger, it will be better, it will be safer, and it will be retroactive.
President Trump's spokeswoman also voiced optimism, but economic adviser Larry Kudlow was more cautious.
The other team is holding out, frankly, for some political wish list that they know that the senators in the GOP are not going to buy into it. They know that. So, therefore, the clock is ticking.
The two sides are talking about a package that could total $2 trillion or more.
In Nigeria, gunfire rang out in Lagos again amid protests against police brutality. The shooting came as smoke billowed over a prison and crowds ran through streets. Unrest has escalated since troops fired on protesters Tuesday night.
We will have a detailed report later in the program.
The government of Thailand today canceled a state of emergency in Bangkok. But students leading protests against the monarchy and the prime minister said the move is not enough.
Sugreeya Wannayuwat (through translator):
Actually, what the people want from the prime minister is his resignation. What he's announced is the government taking one step backward. It is not a retreat at all. It is, rather, because his act has no legitimacy in the first place.
There could be more mass demonstrations tomorrow, when Thailand marks a public holiday honoring a revered ruler from the past.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 152 points to close at 28363. The Nasdaq rose 21 points, and the S&P 500 added 18.
And for the first time in nearly 160 years, Santa Claus won't be greeting children at Macy's flagship store in New York this Christmas. The company cites concerns about COVID-19. Macy's will offer a free online experience with Santa at the end of November.
That will have to do.
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