On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting'

On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting'
© Greg Nash/Bonnie Cash

Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG (lack of) DEAL — Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement: The Senate left Washington, D.C., on Thursday until September — the latest sign that a deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package is likely weeks away.

“If it doesn’t happen in the next 48 hours, I think this is all you’re going to see until Congress gets back into session after Labor Day," Grassley told reporters. The Hill’s Jordain Carney breaks it down here.

Grim prognosis: There's little reason to think a deal will be reached before Labor Day, even though 28 million Americans remain on some form of unemployment insurance.

"We are miles apart in our values," Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. 

Asked when her next talk would be with Mnuchin and Meadows, Pelosi responded, "I don't know. When they come in with $2 trillion."

VIRTUAL EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: ON THE AGENDA: AFFORDABLE HOUSING 

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A place to call home has always been a basic need and yet the lack of safe, affordable housing remains an issue today. On the sidelines of the 2020 Conventions, The Hill will host discussions on what can be done to ensure all Americans have access to a safe and affordable home. Tuesday, August 18 at 1PM EDT former HUD Sec. Julián Castro and Rep. Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneDemocrats say affordable housing would be a top priority in a Biden administration On The Money: McConnell not certain about fifth coronavirus package | States expected to roll out unemployment boost in late August | Navarro blasts 'stupid' Kodak execs On The Money: Economists flabbergasted after Congress leaves with no deal | Markets rise as the economy struggles | Retail sales slow in July MORE join us for the DNC; stay tuned for details on the RNC edition on Tuesday, August 25 at 1PM EDT.

LEADING THE DAY

Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March: The number of new applications for unemployment insurance fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the first wave of coronavirus lockdowns, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • Between August 2 and 8, a seasonally adjusted total of 963,000 Americans filed new claims for jobless benefits, 228,000 fewer claims than the roughly 1.2 million applications from the week before.
  • The non-seasonally adjusted number of claims totaled 831,856 in the previous week. 
  • An additional 488,622 Americans applied for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)  program created in March to cover those not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance, 167,377 fewer than the previous week.

While the total number of claims for unemployment insurance and PUA remain above 1 million, last week was the first since March 8-14 that applications for the standard jobless benefits program were below 1 million. Even so, the unemployment rate remains at 10.2 percent, slightly worse than the peak of the Great Recession, with dire threats to the broader economy looming.

I walk you through the report here.

Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE on Thursday suggested that he was unwilling to make a deal with Democrats that included funding for the Postal Service because it would prevent universal mail-in voting during the election this year.

Trump, who has for weeks made exaggerated and inaccurate claims about mail-in voting, made his clearest argument to date that he opposes funding for the post office that Democrats have pushed as part of coronavirus legislation because it would strengthen access to mail-in ballots.

  • "They want $25 billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots," Trump said. 
  • "Now, if we don't make a deal that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting," Trump added. "They just can't have it. So, you know, sort of a crazy thing."

Democrats have pushed for wider access to mail-in ballots, noting that there will be fewer polling places due to the pandemic and arguing that at-risk populations may rely more heavily on voting absentee.

But Trump has attempted to sow doubt about the reliability of mail-in ballots, claiming the election will be "rigged" and "fraudulent" despite experts insisting there is scant instances of fraud tied to mail-in voting.

The Hill’s Brett Samuels has more here.

'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store: Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple Thursday after its wildly popular video game "Fortnite" was removed from the App Store.

The suit, filed in the Northern California federal court, argues that "Fortnite's" removal constitutes “anticompetitive conduct.” 

  • Apple removed "Fortnite" from the App Store after Epic Games released a feature allowing iOS users to pick whether to make in-app purchases through the App Store or from Epic directly, which would save customers 20 percent.
  • Apple requires developers that use its App Store platform to also use Apple's payment methods, which give the tech giant a 30 percent cut of all in-app revenue, which is the only way Epic makes money. In some rare cases, the fee is 15 percent.
  • That policy has come under increased scrutiny recently, with developers, European antitrust regulators and members of Congress raising concerns about Apple's monopoly power.

The Hill’s Chris Mills Rodrigo explains here.

GOOD TO KNOW