House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced a new "China Task Force" on Thursday that will work to develop legislative policies to curtail Chinese influence.

Why it matters: The global coronavirus pandemic has made it more apparent "for the need for a national strategy to deal with China, McCarthy said. The committee of 15 Republicans was originally supposed to include Democrats, but the party reportedly withdrew without explanation in February.

  • Sources told the Washington Post's Josh Rogin that there was at first a dispute among Democrats over who would be on the committee, but they later decided not to participate at all because the China issue has become too politicized in the coronavirus era.
  • “We are very cognizant of the need to hold China accountable for its actions,” a senior Democratic aide told the Post. “But to the extent this is going to be the Trump administration’s scapegoat for its utter failure, we are not going to go along with that.”

The big picture: The coronavirus crisis is threatening the bipartisan consensus that the U.S. needs a China policy that acknowledges Beijing's hard authoritarian turn and the serious challenge China's growing power presents to U.S. interests.

Details: The task force will work to develop a legislative strategy regarding China's influence inside the U.S., export control, foreign investment screening, presence in American universities and more.

  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), a ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, will serve as chairman of the task force.
  • Other members include Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

Go deeper: D.C.'s bipartisan China consensus may be unraveling

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McConnell announces Senate will adjourn until Sept. 8

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday that the Senate will not hold any more votes until Sept. 8, though members will remain on 24-hour notice in case a coronavirus stimulus deal is reached.

Why it matters: With millions of Americans unemployed, the Trump administration and Democrats remain hopelessly deadlocked and unlikely to reach a deal any time soon.

Deadly Hurricane Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

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Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China