News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

Claim: Coronavirus relief package includes nearly $2 billion for new FBI headquarters. Fact check: True

A GOP-proposed, roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes nearly $2 billion for a new FBI headquarters.

The new headquarters has been in the works for over a decade. Proponents of the funding say that the FBI has been helpful in fighting increased crime due to Covid-19 and cyber breaches against new vaccines. But opponents say the funding is not directly related to Covid-19 and that the Trump administration has something to gain by keeping the headquarters in downtown Washington, near a Trump hotel, rather than it's proposed move to a suburb of Maryland or Virginia.

And many Senate Republicans have uncharacteristically parted with the Trump administration to rebuke the request.

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Sen. Roy Blunt (right) speaks with Sen. Lamar Alexander prior to the start of the Rules Committee hearing on election preparations.

Bipartisan accord in the Senate for more election cash, but how much?

A bipartisan consensus has become clear in Congress that states need more federal help, and quickly, or else their elections in November risk becoming dangerously unhealthy, inefficient and unreliable — mainly because they might not be ready to deliver and count the torrent of mail ballots requested by voters anxious about the coronavirus.

All the witnesses made essentially that point Wednesday in a Senate hearing. And they had a clearly receptive ear from Roy Blunt of Missouri, who convened the session as the Republican leadership's point person on election funding.

But Blunt did not reveal how much he was willing to include in the next pandemic economic relief bill, negotiations on which have gotten off to a scattershot start in Congress this week. Republicans have been fighting among themselves about much the economic rescue package should cost and which of President Trump's expensive ideas to include.

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Medill Podcast: Impact of mail-in voting on the presidential election

The Fulcrum is partnering with Northwestern University to co-publish content from the Medill School of Journalism's Covid-19 Analyzer, which is investigating the truth about coronavirus-related claims by people in public life — particularly the pandemic's impact on elections. Read more in the Fact Check section.

Amid fears of a coronavirus resurgence, mail-in voting is at the center of this year's discussion about how to safely and effectively host November's presidential election. Critics argue that voting from home could delay election results, possibly up to a few weeks, and mail-in ballots are susceptible to tampering.

But Audrey Kline, the National Policy Director at the Vote at Home Institute, argues that mail-in ballots could increase engagement and education among voters. On this week's episode, Kline talks about the difference between absentee ballots and mail-in ballots, if voting from home will affect how presidential candidates campaign across the country and how long could voters wait before election results will be released.

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