US Senate plans vote on business aid amid stimulus deadlock

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said lawmakers would vote on a small businesses loan program to help firms damaged by the coronavirus pandemic, but the prospects for approval are dim.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress remain locked in a prolonged disagreement over how much additional stimulus is needed to support the economy, with Democrats holding out for a larger, broader package than the narrowly-focused measure McConnell proposed.

The Republican leader said senators would vote on adding more money to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and grants to small businesses but ran out of money in August.

“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families,” McConnell said, without saying how much the proposal would cost.

“The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose

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Amherst resolution criticizing Boston-based business groups’ education aid ideas gets push-back

AMHERST – A joint resolution of the town council and local school committee – approved unanimously this week – opposing some of what two Boston-based business advocacy groups propose, to make state Chapter 70 education aid disbursement “equitable,” is getting push-back from the business groups.

Amherst officials say the proposals, if enacted, would wreck their school system with the loss of millions of dollars in state education aid; the business groups say those fears are overblown and the town’s reduction in state aid would only be a fraction of what they claim.

At issue is a report Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must submit to the legislature by Dec. 1.

This is a requirement of the Student Opportunity Act approved by legislature and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker last year.

The DESE is now seeking public comment, through Oct. 16, to assist the agency in writing

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Bartell Drugs, a local, family-owned business for 130 years, to be sold to Rite Aid for $95 million

After months of pandemic-related financial strain and years of uncertainty over its future, Bartell Drugs, one of the oldest companies in Washington state and one of the most familiar names in the Seattle business community, is being sold.

The 67-store regional drugstore chain, which has been owned by the same family since its founding in Seattle’s Central District in 1890, will be acquired by Rite Aid for $95 million, the companies announced Wednesday. 

“We felt that this was the only answer,” said George D. Bartell, co-owner and chairman of the company his grandfather, George H. Bartell Sr., founded 130 years ago. “It was getting more difficult for regional operators to compete in the market.”

Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid, which has about 2,500 stores in 19 states, including 69 in and around Seattle, will keep the Bartell name on the stores. It disclosed no plans to close stores or cut any of

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Global central bankers say fiscal aid crucial in new phase of pandemic battle

(Reuters) – Top U.S. and European central bankers on Tuesday called for renewed government spending to support families and businesses as the battle against the coronavirus-triggered recession enters a newly critical phase.

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing examining the quarterly CARES Act report to Congress, in Washington, DC, U.S., September 24, 2020. Drew Angerer/Pool via REUTERS

Hopes for new fiscal support in the United States, however, were dealt a serious blow when President Donald Trump abruptly canceled ongoing negotiations with Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The growth in new COVID-19 cases is again accelerating in parts of the United States and Europe, raising the prospect of new restrictions on commerce even as whole industries and millions of households are still reeling from those imposed in the spring during

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