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Pandemic aid strengthens Biden, shows potential path for his congressional agenda

Producing it was a torturous, time-consuming affair that did nothing to improve Congress’s reputation for dysfunction. But by the time the House and Senate agreed on the terms of a pandemic aid package, they had succeeded in showing the rise of moderates as a new force in a divided Senate and in validate President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s belief that it is still possible to do business on Capitol Hill.

With Americans and businesses struggling, the new president has been a major beneficiary of the $ 900 billion pandemic stimulus package that Congress hesitantly finally issued on Sunday, which will give him some breathing space when ‘he will enter the White House next month. Rather than facing an immediate and urgent need to act on an emergency economic assistance program, Mr Biden and his team can instead take a moment to try to shape a more ambitious recovery agenda and begin to s ‘tackle other problems.

“President-elect Biden is going to have a healthier economy,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and one of the main players in the push to separate the centrists in the Senate and the House that led to the compromise. “This is a significant financial injection into the economy at a critical time.”

The group of moderates played a pivotal role in the outcome, pushing Senate and House leaders from both parties into direct personal negotiations they had avoided for months. If the leaders did not move forward, they risked losing control of the legislation as the compromise forged by the centrists gathered momentum among members of both parties. It was a possibility that Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and Majority Leader, was eager to avoid in the interests of keeping his grip on the Senate.

“I’m glad we forced the problem,” said Senator Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat from West Virginia, led a months-long effort to breaking the deadlock of pandemic aid even as the virus has demanded a growing economic and health toll of the country.

Given the thin partisan divisions that will exist in the Senate and House next year, the approach could provide a roadmap for the Biden administration if it hopes to break the paralysis of Congress, especially in the Senate, and pass a additional legislation. Mr Biden said another economic relief plan would be a top priority.

“I think this will be the only way we are going to accomplish the president-elect’s agenda over the next two years,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey and leader of the 50-member Biparty Caucus for Problem Solving . helped forge the compromise. “In the long run, that’s the way to govern.”

But the extremely difficult time Congress has had to come to an agreement on pandemic legislation has again shown the difficulty of the task Mr Biden faces. Almost every influential member of the House and Senate agreed that the relief was sorely needed, but it was in part hampered by last-minute Republican attempts to undermine Mr Biden’s future authority. Some Republicans are already suggesting that the latest package should survive the country for an extended period, with no additional relief needed for some time.

Mr Biden on Sunday applauded lawmakers’ willingness to “cross the aisle” and called the effort “a model for the hard work ahead for our nation.” He was also not an idle spectator in the negotiations.

With Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate nowhere near how much they were prepared to accept in new pandemic spending, Mr Biden on Dec. 2 lent his support to the $ 900 billion plan being pushed. by the centrist group. The total was less than half of the $ 2 trillion that President Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer of New York had insisted on.

Mr. Biden’s move was not without risks. If that had not affected the discussions, the president-elect risked appearing powerless to move Congress until he was sworn in. But members of both parties said his intervention was constructive and gave Democrats the confidence to reverse their demands.

“It helped the Democrats a lot because it told them he didn’t want a deteriorated economy and more severe unemployment and a lack of money for vaccines when he took office,” Ms Collins said.

Deep disagreements over spending levels had been a drag since the spring, when Mr McConnell backed down from another round of pandemic relief, saying he wanted to take a break and see how the over 2.8 trillions of dollars already allocated were being used. Democrats, on the other hand, were pushing for a sweeping $ 3.4 trillion measure that would never pass through the Senate, which included up to $ 1 trillion in relief for state and local governments that Mr. McConnell brought forward. qualified as non-starter. Then the bailout was caught up by the election, and any chance of movement faded even as the crisis persisted and the economic situation of millions of people worsened.

The election ended, the centrists renewed their efforts; eight of them met at the home of Republican Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski on Capitol Hill on Nov. 17 to exchange ideas and chart a strategy. Unlike other such efforts, participants decided to put ideas that had been debated in what had been described as difficult negotiations into legislative language – not just a set of principles or talking points. This gave weight to their proposal and negotiators said it would serve as a model for the future.

“We didn’t just give them a memo with concepts,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat who participated in the talks despite his leadership role. “We gave them a real bill.”

The proposal provided concrete evidence of an alternative to the entrenched positions of the leaders of both parties, with substantial bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Ms Murkowski said the legislation was never intended to be a comprehensive solution, but rather was a “lifeline” to help Americans hit hardest through a crisis that Mr McConnell on Saturday recognized as a “national crisis. with five alarms ”.

“We have presented this dossier of several hundred pages to the public, to the administration, to the leaders”, declared Ms. Murkowski. “We basically said, ‘Here’s a gift. Take it.'”

Mr. McConnell was not so eager to unwrap the gift. Bipartisan bargaining groups, often known as gangs on Capitol Hill, can be seen as a threat to leadership. Much to the dismay of the negotiators, the majority leader quickly rejected the compromise legislation. But after months of delegating negotiations with the Democrats to the Trump administration, Mr McConnell got personally involved and began talks with Ms Pelosi, Mr Schumer and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader of the United States. Bedroom.

While the moderates may have lost “control of the ball” of the law, as Ms. Murkowski put it, they believed their work provided the framework for the end result. Mr Schumer credited them with “unlocking” the stalled talks.

“I think we’ve broken the block,” Mr. Warner said.

Those who took part in the negotiations saw their efforts as a good example of what can happen when the White House and Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill decide they want to compromise rather than swap accusations about who is responsible for dead end. Members of the centrist group said they have been approached by many other lawmakers interested in participating in the next round of talks.

But pursuing such compromises requires accepting significant political risks, such as challenging party leaders, breaking up with colleagues, and being willing to settle for something less than some in your party would prefer.

“There is nothing wrong with working together and getting 80% of what you want instead of insisting on 100%,” said Gottheimer. “It’s about actually governing. It’s a different model. It’s not the one that gets you clicks, but that’s how you get an invoice. “

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Travel News

Pandemic Aid Boosts Biden, Shows Potential Path For His Congress Agenda

Producing it was a complicated, time-consuming affair that did nothing to improve Congress’ reputation for dysfunction. But as the House and Senate agreed on the terms of a pandemic aid package, it showed the rise of a new moderate force in a divided Senate and validated the President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s belief that he could do business on Capitol Hill.

Along with Americans and businesses in trouble, the new president has been a major beneficiary of the $ 900 billion pandemic stimulus package, but ultimately produced by Congress, which will give him some breathing room when ‘he will enter the White House next month. Rather than facing an immediate and urgent need to act on an emergency economic assistance program, Mr Biden and his team can take a moment to try to create a more ambitious recovery program and begin to build. tackle other problems.

“President-elect Biden is going to have a healthier economy,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and one of the main players in the push to separate the centrists in the Senate and the House that led to the compromise. “This is a significant financial injection into the economy at a critical time.”

The group of moderates played a pivotal role in the outcome, pushing Senate and House leaders from both parties into direct personal negotiations they had avoided for months. If the leaders did not move forward, they risked losing control of the legislation as the compromise forged by the centrists gathered momentum among members of both parties. It was a possibility that Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and Majority Leader, was eager to avoid in the interests of keeping his grip on the Senate.

“I’m glad we forced the problem,” said Senator Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat from West Virginia, led a months-long effort to breaking the deadlock of pandemic aid even as the virus has demanded a growing economic and health toll of the country.

Given the thin partisan divisions that will exist in the Senate and House next year, the approach could provide a roadmap for the Biden administration if it hopes to break the paralysis of Congress, especially in the Senate, and pass a additional legislation. Mr Biden said another economic relief plan would be a top priority.

“I think this will be the only way we are going to accomplish the president-elect’s agenda over the next two years,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey and leader of the 50-member Biparty Caucus for Problem Solving . helped forge the compromise. “In the long run, that’s the way to govern.”

But the extremely difficult time Congress has had to reach agreement on pandemic legislation has once again demonstrated just how difficult the task Mr Biden is facing. Almost every influential member of the House and Senate agreed that the relief was sorely needed, but it was in part hampered by last-minute Republican attempts to undermine Mr Biden’s future authority. Some Republicans are already suggesting that the latest package should survive the country for an extended period, with no additional relief needed for some time.

Mr Biden on Sunday applauded lawmakers’ willingness to “cross the aisle” and called the effort “a model for the hard work ahead for our nation.” He was also not an idle spectator in the negotiations.

With Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate nowhere near how much they were prepared to accept in new pandemic spending, Mr Biden on Dec. 2 lent his support to the $ 900 billion plan being pushed. by the centrist group, an equal total. at less than half of the $ 2 trillion, President Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, had insisted.

Mr. Biden’s move was not without risks. If this had not impacted the discussions, the president-elect risked appearing powerless to move Congress, even before being sworn in. But members of both parties said his intervention was constructive and gave Democrats the confidence to lower their demands.

“It helped Democrats a lot because it told them he didn’t want a deteriorated economy and more severe unemployment and a lack of money for vaccines when he takes office,” he said. Ms. Collins said.

Deep disagreements over spending levels had been a drag since the spring, when Mr McConnell backed down from another round of pandemic relief, saying he wanted to take a break and see how the over 2.8 trillions of dollars already allocated were being used. Democrats, on the other hand, were pushing for a sweeping $ 3.4 trillion measure that would never pass through the Senate, including up to $ 1 trillion in state and local government relief that Mr McConnell brought forward. qualified as non-starter. Then the bailout was caught up in the November elections, and any chance of movement disappeared even as the crisis persisted and the economic situation of millions of people worsened.

The election ended, the centrists renewed their efforts; eight of them met on Nov. 17 at the home of Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Capitol Hill to exchange ideas and chart a strategy. Unlike other such efforts in the past, participants decided to translate the hackneyed ideas in what has been described as difficult negotiations into real legislative language – not just a series of principles or talking points. This gave weight to their proposal and negotiators said it would serve as a model for the future.

“We didn’t just give them a memo with concepts,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat who participated in the talks despite his leadership role. “We gave them a real bill.”

The proposal provided concrete evidence of an alternative to the buried positions of the leaders of both parties, with substantial bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Ms Murkowski said the legislation was never intended to be a comprehensive solution, but rather was a ‘lifeline’ to help hard-hit Americans through a crisis that Mr McConnell himself conceded on Saturday was a “National crisis with five alarms”.

“We have presented this dossier of several hundred pages to the public, to the administration, to the leaders”, declared Ms. Murkowski. “We basically said, ‘Here’s a gift. Take it.’ “

Mr. McConnell was not so eager to unwrap the gift. Bipartisan bargaining groups, often referred to as “gangs” on Capitol Hill, can be seen as a threat to leadership. Much to the dismay of the negotiators, the majority leader quickly rejected the compromise legislation. But after months of delegating negotiations with the Democrats to the Trump administration, Mr McConnell got personally involved and began talks with Ms Pelosi, Mr Schumer and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader of the United States. Bedroom.

Although the centrists may have, in Ms Murkowski’s words, lost the “ball control” of the law, they were convinced that their work provided the framework for the end result. Mr Schumer credited them with “unlocking” the stalled talks.

“I think we’ve broken the traffic jam,” Mr. Warner said.

Those who took part in the negotiations saw their efforts as a good example of what can happen when the White House and Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill decide they want to compromise rather than swap accusations about who is responsible for dead end. Members of the centrist group said they have been approached by many other lawmakers interested in participating in the next round of talks.

But pursuing such compromises requires accepting significant political risks, including challenging party leaders, breaking up with colleagues, and being prepared to settle for something less than some in your party would prefer.

“There is nothing wrong with working together and getting 80% of what you want instead of insisting on 100%,” said Gottheimer. “It’s about actually governing. It’s a different model. It’s not the one that gets you clicks, but that’s how you get an invoice. “

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Travel News

Pandemic Aid Boosts Biden, Shows Potential Path For His Congress Agenda

The overdue pandemic assistance package represents both a pre-inaugural legislative victory for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a potential model for reaching deals in Congress in the coming Biden era .

Along with Americans and businesses in trouble, the new president has been a major beneficiary of the $ 900 billion pandemic stimulus package, but ultimately produced by Congress, which will give him some breathing room when ‘he will enter the White House next month. Rather than facing an immediate and urgent need to act on an emergency economic assistance program, Mr Biden and his team can take a moment to try to create a more ambitious recovery program and begin to build. tackle other problems.

“President-elect Biden is going to have a healthier economy,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and one of the main players in the push to separate the centrists in the Senate and the House that led to the compromise. “This is a significant financial injection into the economy at a critical time.”

The group of moderates played a pivotal role in the outcome, pushing Senate and House leaders from both parties into direct personal negotiations they had avoided for months. If the leaders did not move forward, they risked losing control of the legislation as the compromise forged by the centrists gathered momentum among members of both parties. It was a possibility that Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and Majority Leader, was eager to avoid in the interests of keeping his grip on the Senate.

“I’m glad we forced the problem,” said Senator Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat from West Virginia, led a months-long effort to breaking the deadlock of pandemic aid even as the virus has demanded a growing economic and health toll of the country.

Given the thin partisan divisions that will exist in the Senate and House next year, the approach could provide a roadmap for the Biden administration if it hopes to break the paralysis of Congress, especially in the Senate, and pass a additional legislation. Mr Biden said another economic relief plan would be a top priority.

“I think this will be the only way we are going to accomplish the president-elect’s agenda over the next two years,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey and leader of the 50-member Biparty Caucus for Problem Solving . helped forge the compromise. “In the long run, that’s the way to govern.”

But the extremely difficult time Congress has had to reach agreement on pandemic legislation has once again demonstrated just how difficult the task Mr Biden is facing. Almost every influential member of the House and Senate agreed that the relief was sorely needed, but it was in part hampered by last-minute Republican attempts to undermine Mr Biden’s future authority. Some Republicans are already suggesting that the latest package should survive the country for an extended period, with no additional relief needed for some time.

Mr Biden on Sunday applauded lawmakers’ willingness to “cross the aisle” and called the effort “a model for the hard work ahead for our nation.” He was also not an idle spectator in the negotiations.

With Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate nowhere near how much they were prepared to accept in new pandemic spending, Mr Biden on Dec. 2 lent his support to the $ 900 billion plan being pushed. by the centrist group, an equal total. at less than half of the $ 2 trillion, President Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, had insisted.

Mr. Biden’s move was not without risks. If this had not impacted the discussions, the president-elect risked appearing powerless to move Congress, even before being sworn in. But members of both parties said his intervention was constructive and gave Democrats the confidence to lower their demands.

“It helped Democrats a lot because it told them he didn’t want a deteriorated economy and more severe unemployment and a lack of money for vaccines when he takes office,” he said. Ms. Collins said.

Deep disagreements over spending levels had been a drag since the spring, when Mr McConnell backed down from another round of pandemic relief, saying he wanted to take a break and see how the over 2.8 trillions of dollars already allocated were being used. Democrats, on the other hand, were pushing for a sweeping $ 3.4 trillion measure that would never pass through the Senate, including up to $ 1 trillion in state and local government relief that Mr McConnell brought forward. qualified as non-starter. Then the bailout was caught up in the November elections, and any chance of movement disappeared even as the crisis persisted and the economic situation of millions of people worsened.

The election ended, the centrists renewed their efforts; eight of them met on Nov. 17 at the home of Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Capitol Hill to exchange ideas and chart a strategy. Unlike other such efforts in the past, participants decided to translate the hackneyed ideas in what has been described as difficult negotiations into real legislative language – not just a series of principles or talking points. This gave weight to their proposal and negotiators said it would serve as a model for the future.

“We didn’t just give them a memo with concepts,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat who participated in the talks despite his leadership role. “We gave them a real bill.”

The proposal provided concrete evidence of an alternative to the buried positions of the leaders of both parties, with substantial bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Ms Murkowski said the legislation was never intended to be a comprehensive solution, but rather was a ‘lifeline’ to help hard-hit Americans through a crisis that Mr McConnell himself conceded on Saturday was a “National crisis with five alarms”.

“We have presented this dossier of several hundred pages to the public, to the administration, to the leaders”, declared Ms. Murkowski. “We basically said, ‘Here’s a gift. Take it.’ “

Mr. McConnell was not so eager to unwrap the gift. Bipartisan bargaining groups, often referred to as “gangs” on Capitol Hill, can be seen as a threat to leadership. Much to the dismay of the negotiators, the majority leader quickly rejected the compromise legislation. But after months of delegating negotiations with the Democrats to the Trump administration, Mr McConnell got personally involved and began talks with Ms Pelosi, Mr Schumer and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader of the United States. Bedroom.

Although the centrists may have, in Ms Murkowski’s words, lost the “ball control” of the law, they were convinced that their work provided the framework for the end result. Mr Schumer credited them with “unlocking” the stalled talks.

“I think we’ve broken the traffic jam,” Mr. Warner said.

Those who took part in the negotiations saw their efforts as a good example of what can happen when the White House and Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill decide they want to compromise rather than swap accusations about who is responsible for dead end. Members of the centrist group said they have been approached by many other lawmakers interested in participating in the next round of talks.

But pursuing such compromises requires accepting significant political risks, including challenging party leaders, breaking up with colleagues, and being prepared to settle for something less than some in your party would prefer.

“There is nothing wrong with working together and getting 80% of what you want instead of insisting on 100%,” said Gottheimer. “It’s about actually governing. It’s a different model. It’s not the one that gets you clicks, but that’s how you get an invoice. “

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Travel News

Justice Department investigates potential corruption scheme for Trump forgiveness

The Justice Department investigated whether intermediaries in a federal convict offered a bribe to White House officials in return for a possible pardon or commutation of President Trump, according to unsealed court documents by a federal judge on Tuesday.

The documents have been heavily redacted and it is not known who may have been involved. Nothing directly linked Mr. Trump to the scheme and the documents indicated that no one had been charged.

But the documents offered some clues as to what the White House might have known about the scheme. One passage appears to show that an attorney for the convict had discussions with the White House attorneys office about a pardon or commutation, but it was not clear whether the discussions were part of the ploy or a normal back and forth with the White House over a convict case.

Information about the potential project was included in an August 28 notice from U.S. Chief District Judge for the District of Columbia, Beryl A. Howell, questioning whether to allow federal prosecutors review evidence – such as emails – that may have been protected by solicitor-client privilege.

Judge Howell gave prosecutors access to the documents.

Investigators suspected that the convict seeking pardon had been jailed as recently as this summer and that two people working on the convict’s behalf may have embarked on a secret lobbying campaign by approaching White House officials, the documents said.

The two may have offered to funnel money in the form of political donations in exchange for pardon or commutation, although it is not clear where the money was to be sent exactly.

Given Mr. Trump’s unruly approach to forgiveness, the disclosure, amid a flurry of reports of how Mr. Trump has discussed whether to forgive his children and close confidants during the last weeks of his presidency, raised concerns that the forgiveness process may have been corrupted.

Mr Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn on Wednesday and spoke with his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani last week about a preventive pardon for Mr Giuliani before he left. its functions. The president has also had discussions with advisers over how he fears that a Biden Justice Department may seek retaliation against him by prosecuting his children.

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Impacting Travel

Potential COVID-19 vaccine causes travel stocks to skyrocket

The two go hand in hand.

The idea of ​​a vaccine that can prevent COVID-19 and stop the coronavirus pandemic is the elixir that suspicious travelers have been looking for, and proof of that came from the numbers produced by the stock market today.

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Following the announcement that Pfizer and BioNTech have produced a vaccine they say is 90 percent effective after Phase 3 trials, the Dow Jones soared to record highs, gaining more than 1,256 points per hour before closing. the bell driven by travel stocks.

Being a trend now

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19, ”said Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO and President of Pfizer, in a release.

“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most, with infection rates setting new records, hospitals approaching overcapacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to giving people around the world a much-needed breakthrough to help end this global health crisis. “

According to Yahoo Finance, Pfizer plans to apply for the vaccine’s emergency use authorization later this month, fueling hopes that people will venture out to theaters and entertainment venues and start traveling again.

At 3:03 pm EST, travel stocks were still through the roof. –

– American Airlines was up 16.84 percent on the day.

– United Airlines rose 19.75 percent

– Delta was up 17.6 percent

– Southwest was up 11.9 percent

– JetBlue is up 23.08 percent

– Royal Caribbean sailed, 28.62 percent more

– Carnival was really a cruise ship, a whopping 35.6 percent

– Norwegian is up 26.66 percent

– Marriott International Hotels rose 14.47 percent

– Hyatt was up 20.62 percent

– InterContinential Hotels rose 11.38 percent

“With today’s vaccine news, households and businesses are going to plan ahead, for example by booking trips, vacations and [capital expenditures]”Said Torsten Slok, chief economist at Apollo Global Management.

With Pfizer aiming to have more than 1 billion doses ready by next year, “the implication is that we will immediately begin to see the positive effects on employment, GDP and earnings, even before the vaccine is available to the public. “Slok added.

.

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Travel News

In a refugee camp on the US-Mexico border, potential migrants are hoping for a victory from Biden.

MATAMOROS, Mexico – Enda Marisol Rivera and Vilma Consuelo Vasquez were sitting at a rickety wooden table under ragged tarps, peeling the bananas they ate for breakfast and talking about the nerves they woke up with this morning.

The two women have lived for months in a squalid tent camp filled with people hoping to gain asylum status in the United States.

“In the name of God, we hope Biden wins,” said Ms. Rivera, who has been at the camp for seven months. “It’s not safe here.”

The camp is testimony to the fact that President Trump has closed America’s door to large swathes of potential migrants. Residents of the camp are among the many foreign nationals who watch the election results with high stakes.

In the absence of television, people in the camp walked around with cell phones for information. Some had radios.

A few tents away, Luis Ramos, 26, from Honduras, sat on a pitcher of water outside his tent, wearing shorts and a black t-shirt that said, “Do everything with love.” . His black socks were getting covered in dirt as he nervously bounced on his legs.

“We’re all watching to see what’s going on,” he said, his eyes red with tears. “Today is the day that will define who will stay and who will go. Trump’s policies put us here. They were bad for us in every way.

Mr Ramos said he had struggled to sleep the night before on the rigid camp bed inside his tent, thinking of the US election. He said he planned to spend the day in one of his neighbors’ tents, where they could cram around the cellphones of people who had enough money to pay for a day of internet service, in order to monitor election results.

“Today is our only hope,” he said.

People at the camp were planning to gather around 7 p.m. to watch the late-night results arrive. Some called the event a feast, others a vigil. Many were in contact with relatives in the United States.

“We are a village here,” said Sandra Andrade, 43, from El Salvador.

Maria Guardado, 43, from Progreso, Honduras, said she was cautiously optimistic that Joseph R. Biden Jr. would be able to help her leave the camp – if he won the race to the presidency. She put her hand in a makeshift stove that she used to make rice for breakfast, mixing scraps of wood to fan the flame. Her 15-year-old son was still sleeping in their tent. She said the two of them would keep their eyes on their phones all day, hoping to hear of a Biden victory.

She felt good that Mr Biden’s wife had visited the camp last year, with many Latinos as part of her delegation. But she added that she was also realistic. “Politicians are politicians,” she said.

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Travel News

Trump is counting on efforts to target potential supporters who did not respond in 2016.

As Democrats work their way into the final hours of the White House race, one possibility is high on the list of reasons President Trump could win.

It is his intensive efforts – according to some successful accounts – to identify potential supporters who did not attend in 2016 and have them registered and go to the polls (or letterboxes). Mr. Trump’s campaign has invested heavily in finding people who match the demographics of his supporters – especially white males without a college degree – and comparing them to public records to determine who did not vote in 2016.

For Democrats, this was of particular concern in Pennsylvania, which has a sizable cohort of such voters, and where Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 44,292 votes, or less than a percentage point. Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential candidate, visited statewide over the weekend, reinforcing how critical he has become for the outcome of this election.

It is not known whether this strategy worked, as Mr Biden also attracted new voters. A New York Times / Siena College poll released on Sunday suggests that in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona, there was an influx of people who voted in 2016 and they generally vote for Mr Biden.

Among eligible Pennsylvania voters who did not surrender in 2016, Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump by 12 points. His margin among those voters is 19 points in Wisconsin, 17 points in Florida and 7 points in Arizona.

The poll also shows Mr Biden leading in four of the most crucial transitional states, leaving him in a strong position ahead of election day. It leads Florida by three points, Arizona and Pennsylvania by six and Wisconsin by 11.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has had modest success in his efforts to attract Hispanic support across the country, and the poll found that 33% of Latino respondents in Florida supported him compared to Mr. Biden, with 9% undecided. In 2016, a survey of voters leaving the polling stations found that 31% of Hispanic voters preferred Mr. Trump over Ms. Clinton.

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‘Perception hacks’ and other potential threats to the election

In Georgia, a database that verifies voter signatures was locked up by Russian hackers in a ransomware attack that also emptied voter registration data online.

In California and Indiana, Russia’s most formidable hackers, a unit linked to the Federal Security Service, or FSB, have delved into local networks and hit some electoral systems, although it is not yet known not why.

In Louisiana, the National Guard was called in to stop cyber attacks targeting small government offices that were using tools previously only visible during the attacks from North Korea.

And on Tuesday night, someone hacked into the Trump campaign, degrading its website with a threatening broken English message warning that there would be more to come.

None of these attacks amounted to much. But from Cyber ​​Command’s sprawling war room in the United States to election watchers on Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft, pundits are closely watching more “perception hacks.” These are smaller attacks that can be easily exaggerated into something bigger and potentially seized as evidence that the whole voting process is “rigged,” as President Trump has claimed.

This phrase comes up every time Christopher Krebs, the head of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for making sure voting systems are secure, talks about the biggest vulnerabilities in this election. His concern is not a large attack but a series of smaller ones, perhaps concentrated in swing states, the effect of which is more psychological than real.

Perception hacks are just one of many issues worrying election officials and cybersecurity experts in the final days of voting – and their concerns will not end on election day.

One theory that is gaining traction among US intelligence agencies is that the Russians, having argued that they remain inside mainstream US systems despite reinforced defenses and new offensive operations from Cyber ​​Command, could s ‘be absent next week – until it is clear whether the vote is Close.

The Russian game, according to this theory, would be to fan the flames of state-by-state electoral battles, generating or amplifying allegations of fraud that would further undermine American confidence in the integrity of the electoral process.

The Iranians would continue their playbook, which US intelligence officials see as more vandalism than serious hacking, filled with threats in mutilated English.

Keep up with Election 2020

But US experts have warned local officials who will come on November 3 that the Iranians may seek to cripple or damage the websites of secretaries of state, affecting reporting of results, and creating the impression of being inside. of voting infrastructure even though they never were and the election results were not compromised.

Here’s a look at some of the potential threats and what has been learned so far in a year of behind-the-scenes cyber battles.

Government officials are trying to assure voters that voting machines are difficult to hack on a large scale: they are almost entirely offline. States and counties use their own systems, and the breadth and diversity of those systems, the argument goes, make it nearly impossible for a single attack to target them all.

But that does not eliminate the risk. At the University of Michigan, J. Alex Halderman turned his lab into an arcade of voting machine vulnerabilities and found ways to create “attacks that can spread from machine to machine like a computer virus and silently modify them. election results ”.

Others point out that no one needs to hack every state to wreak havoc. In a close election, an attacker could target Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit or Milwaukee and delay reporting the results of an electoral battlefield.

The other weak spot in the claim of diversity as security, according to electoral security experts, is the constellation of contractors who support elections in several states and counties. “The claim that diversity protects the election is a logical error,” said Harri Hursti, election security consultant.

Mr. Hursti is concerned about a scenario in which the ballot scanners could be reprogrammed to read a vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a vote for Mr. Trump or vice versa.

“A single point of failure could compromise the electoral infrastructure in many counties and states,” Hursti warned.

His concern is strictly prudent, but not unheard of. Shortly after the 2016 election, a National Security Agency whistleblower revealed that VR Systems, a Florida company that provided recording software to several states, including critical states like Florida and Carolina North, had been compromised by Russian pirates before the vote. . There is no evidence that they used this access to affect the final vote.

The constant pace of cyber attacks and foreign interference has forced states to put in place safeguards. States have made efforts to print hard copies of voter registration data, and have gradually phased out machines that leave no paper backups.

Mr Krebs said next week about 92% of all votes cast would be “tied” to some kind of paper record, up significantly from four years ago.

But with the increase in the number of postal ballots this year, automatic voting will also decrease as a percentage of the total vote. Thus, the vulnerabilities that the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency focuses on are potential attacks on voter registration, verification and reporting systems, as well as the computer networks of secretaries. Condition or power outages at polling stations.

These types of attacks would not change the number of votes. But, executed with enough skill, especially in battlefield states or key districts within those states, they could be used to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.

Some officials still wonder if this was the motivation behind some of Russia’s meddling in 2016, when hackers “scanned” the registration databases of all 50 states, violated systems in Arizona and United States. Florida and made an unusually loud demonstration of voter registration data theft in Illinois. but ultimately did not.

Many of these vulnerabilities have been addressed, thanks to an aggressive campaign by the Department of Homeland Security and the states. But voting is a local affair and vulnerabilities remain, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis discovered when he went to vote early in Tallahassee, the state capital. Someone – police arrested a 20-year-old from Naples, Florida – had changed the governor’s address to West Palm Beach.

This is why there is so much concern about a Russian group called Energetic Bear. Over the years, the group, seen as a unit of the FSB, has breached US power grids, water treatment plants, a nuclear power plant in Kansas, and more recently web systems at the International Airport of San Francisco.

And from September it began to enter the systems of state and local governments. So far, intelligence officials say they’ve only managed to break through two servers in California and Indiana.

The most imminent threat, officials said, is ransomware attacks that could freeze part of the voting system and delay results.

This shows how concerned intelligence agencies and the private sector are about ransomware that over the last month Cyber ​​Command and a group of companies led by Microsoft decommissioned servers around the world linked to TrickBot, a set of tools used in some of the most sophisticated ransomware operations.

“This is about disrupting TrickBot’s operations during the peak election period,” said Tom Burt, Microsoft’s executive in charge of the operation.

But there is already evidence that the hackers behind TrickBot have turned to new tools, according to Mandiant, a cybersecurity company. Over the past month and a half, researchers found that the same people had led a series of new vicious ransomware attacks that had taken U.S. hospitals offline, just as coronavirus cases were climbing.

“They could use these same tools against whoever they want, whether it’s elections or hospitals,” said Kimberly Goody, cybercrime analyst at Mandiant.

A ransomware attack in Gainesville, Ga., Locked down voter signature verification systems last week, forcing polling officers to do things the old-fashioned way, pulling out registration cards manually and looking at them. signatures.

The attack, which does not appear to have been directed against the elections but destroyed electoral systems as collateral damage, exposed lingering weak spots in Georgia, a key state in the battlefield.

Internal emails have shown Georgia’s secretary of state’s office disabled two-factor authentication in recent weeks, after its election software warped under the deluge of early voters. Two-factor authentication, which prevents hackers from entering systems with a stolen password, has been key to the Homeland Security Department’s election security strategy, and in this case, emails show that the Secretary of State simply disabled it.

Mr Trump has previously promoted the idea that mail-in ballots would be riddled with fraud and sought to use small glitches in the distribution and return of mail-in ballots as evidence the system cannot be trusted if the result goes against him.

The Agency for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security recently released a “public service announcement” about taking care to verify information before believing or reposting it. But as some government officials concede, there is no cure for a president who repeats rumors and unproven conspiracy theories – other than directly contradicting him.

“They followed the line with caution,” said Maine Independent Senator Angus King. “But the real test is coming.”