Aug 4, 2017

Senate blocks Trump from making recess appointments

Susan Walsh / AP

The Senate moved unanimously to block President Trump from making appointments during the August break Thursday evening. Democrats had said they'd make such a move after reports emerged that Trump was considering replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the recess.

  • The Senate agreed to hold pro forma sessions throughout the recess. This procedure was also used to block appointments during the Obama administration.
  • Worth noting: the announcement was made by moderate Republican Lisa Murkowski, who split from Trump over health care. The Senate also made a slew of confirmations and passed several measures before shutting down for the summer.
  • Another update: The Senate will not hold any legislative sessions until September. Mitch McConnell had previously intended to delay the break until August 11 to allow the now-stalled health care plan to move forward.

Go deeper

Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next

Zipline's drone drops medical supplies via parachute. Image courtesy of Zipline.

Zipline, a California drone company, has made its U.S. debut by delivering medical supplies to hospitals in North Carolina under a pilot program honed in Africa.

Why it matters: The effort, made possible by a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to Novant Health, is the nation's longest-range drone delivery operation and could demonstrate how drones could be used in future pandemics, Zipline officials said.

NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from coronavirus hiatus

Data: NHL; Table: Axios Visuals

The NHL unveiled its return-to-play plan on Tuesday, formally announcing that 24 of its 31 teams will return for a playoff tournament in two hub cities, if and when medically cleared.

Why it matters: Hockey is the first major North American sports league to sketch out its plans to return from a coronavirus-driven hiatus in such detail, and it's also the first one to officially pull the plug on its regular season, which will trigger ticket refunds.

Rising home sales show Americans are looking past the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are behaving very differently than they have in previous recessions — convinced that the coronavirus pandemic will soon pass, many continue to spend money as if nothing has changed.

Driving the news: The latest example of this trend is the Commerce Department's new home sales report, which showed home sales increased in April despite nationwide lockdowns that banned real estate agents in some states from even showing listed houses.