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Anti-Brexit demonstrators gathered outside the Parliament, waving EU and UK flags, on July 23, 2018. Photo: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The latest round of Brexit negotiations kicked off today in Brussels, with just two months to go before October's EU Summit — widely seen as one of the last feasible dates to secure a withdrawal treaty.

Why it matters: Consensus has been reached on about 85% of the deal, per the NYTimes' Steven Erlanger, but several of the most contentious issues, including the Irish border dilemma and the U.K.'s customs and trade relationship with the EU, have yet to be resolved.

What to watch:

  • The original idea for an Irish "backstop," which would allow Northern Ireland to remain in the EU's shared "customs union" and "single market," was rejected by the U.K. in July. Thursday's negotiations will focus on finding an alternative solution to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • Friday's talks will seek to clarify the nature of the future trade relationship between the EU and the U.K., after Prime Minister Theresa May's "Chequers proposal" to remain in the EU's single market for goods, but not services, was also rejected.
  • In response to the stifling of the Chequers plan, Britain's new Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has embarked on a tour of European capitals, lobbying the EU for "a change in approach" and warning of the severe market impact of a "no deal" Brexit.
  • The EU's Brexit negotiators reportedly fear that the British secret service has bugged their devices, according to The Telegraph. Regardless of whether that's true, the accusations themselves are a grim indication of the tensions between the negotiating parties.

Go deeper: The U.K. is changing its mind on Brexit.

Go deeper

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.