Headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2013. Photo: Matt McClain / The Washington Post via Getty Images.

The Environmental Protection Agency has terminated a $120,000 contract with Definers Public Affairs, a Republican media-tracking and opposition-research firm, according to a Washington Post report. "How we consume the news has changed...and we hope to find a vendor that can provide us with real-time news clips at a rate that is cheaper than our previous vendor," said EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox.

Why it matters: The contract between the EPA and Definers was first reported on by Mother Jones; the New York Times later reported that the VP of Definers had filed "at least 40 Freedom of Information Act requests to the EPA," and that many regarded "employees known to be questioning management" since EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's confirmation. President of the firm, Joe Pounder, said in a statement to the Post that the Definers wouldn't offer its services to government agencies.

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5 mins ago - Economy & Business

Boeing research shows disinfectants kill coronavirus on airplanes

Electrostatic spraying of disinfectant. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Boeing and researchers at the University of Arizona say their experiment with a live virus on an unoccupied airplane proves that the cleaning methods currently used by airlines are effective in destroying the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why it matters: Deep cleaning aircraft between flights is one of many tactics the airline industry is using to try to restore public confidence in flying during the pandemic. The researchers say their study proves there is virtually no risk of transmission from touching objects including armrests, tray tables, overhead bins or lavatory handles on a plane.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: Studies show drop in COVID death rate — The next wave is gaining steam — The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.