Good Morning from Washington, D.C.,

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the chamber back to Washington on Saturday in a rare move during the August recess to force vote on a bill that would provide $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service and prohibit any operational changes ahead of the November election. The “Delivering for America” measure passed the House 257 to 150, with 26 GOP members breaking with Trump and GOP leaders to join every Democrat in backing the bill. Many of those Republicans represent swing districts, like Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Don Bacon of Nebraska. But passage of the bill is unlikely to have any impact on Post Office operations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated the Senate would not be taking up the House bill, and the White House threatened to veto it.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden accepting the Democratic nominationDuring a four-day virtual Democratic National Convention—the first Presidential nominating convention of the coronavirus era—Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, joined by Senator Kamala Harris from California as the nation’s first Black vice presidential nominee. The Democratic National Convention featured speeches from former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Former Presidential Candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders, and centered on coalescing the party behind Joe Biden, not just opposing Donald Trump. While Trump is a huge motivator for many Democrats, there is some concern within the party that lower-information voters who lean Democrat and swing voters are not locks to cast ballots for Biden this fall, especially as the pandemic creates barriers to voting.

This week, President Donald Trump and the Republicans kick off their Convention. A small number of Republican leaders will be present in Charlotte, but the Convention will be mostly virtual. The Convention will include four days of programming with speeches from former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Donald Trump Jr., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a number of GOP members of the House and Senate, and Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protestors outside their St. Louis mansion in late June. The convention, themed “Honoring the Great American Story,” will close Thursday with Mr. Trump delivering a speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination from the White House.

Tune into Capital Tonight today where Jack O’Donnell will be providing commentary with extended coverage on the convention.

As the number of New Yorkers using the mail to cast their ballots in November is expected to surge inPostal working sorting mail the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill allowing most New York voters to cast their ballots by mail, joining a growing list of states that have expanded mail-in voting to address the potential spread of the coronavirus at polling places. The three-part package includes new measures allowing absentee ballot applications to be submitted to the Board of Elections immediately, expanding the necessary protections to allow a voter to get an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19 and ensuring all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by the Board of Elections without a postmark on the day after the Election will be counted. Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by November 10.

    But with only 10 weeks until Election Day, the challenges of administering an election predominantly by mail will be especially pronounced in New York, following the state’s uneven handling of its primary election just two months ago which has raised doubts about its ability to process more than five million mail-in ballots that are expected in November.

    Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary MunichinProgress on a federal stimulus package has remained stalled, although White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows indicated he met with Speaker Pelosi over the weekend, and insiders are saying that negotiations will pick up after this week’s Republican National Convention.

    In a House Democratic leadership meeting, Pelosi commented on the negotiations: “[President Trump] wants two things: the market to go up and the checks to go out in the mail with his name on the letter. He doesn’t care about food insecurity, eviction, health, the virus, of course state and local, election money, none of it. He doesn’t care about any of it, except the direct payments with his name on the letter.” Meadows retorted, “My challenge to the speaker this morning would be this. If we agree on five or six things, let’s go ahead and pass those. Why did you not do it yesterday?”

    Meanwhile, colleges and universities across New York State are facing increasingly difficult challenges, as coronavirus outbreaks at colleges reopening for fall classes underscore the difficulties of policing student behavior, the state’s ever-changing travel advisory means more and more families are scrambling to find last-minute accommodations for students, and new codes of conduct and threats of closing are being put in place after students are being caught gathering.

    As the 64-campus SUNY system sought to find a new leader to take it through the critical fall semesterMan speaking a table with microphone amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jim Malatras, one of Governor Cuomo’s most trusted aides and top advisers on education policy, was appointed as the 14th SUNY chancellor. The State University of New York Board of Trustees decided to forgo a formal search process to succeed Kristina Johnson, who left this summer for the chancellorship at Ohio State University; board member Cary Staller cast the lone dissenting vote against the appointment, arguing the lack of a search bypassed important input from students, faculty and others in the broader SUNY community. Malatras asked the Board of Trustees for a 25 percent pay cut and will receive a salary $450,000 and a $60,000 housing allowance. His appointment as chancellor begins on August 31.

    Man speaking and chef holding calamari with the sign reading Rhode Island on beach

    Calamari, Rhode Island’s Controversial State Appetizer, Becomes An Unexpected Star Of Democratic Convention

    There was an Ohio union worker alarmed over the economy, a New York nurse decrying the coronavirus pandemic, and a Tennessee college student honoring the state’s history-making vote for the 19th Amendment. But during a roll-call montage on Night 2 of the Democratic National Convention, no vote on Tuesday night commanded the Internet’s attention quite like Rhode Island’s — or its official state appetizer, calamari. [Read more.]

    Man working in car

    ‘So, What Do You Do?’ What, Indeed. With Office Life Dormant, White-Collar Washington Is Adrift.

    Much of white-collar Washington has accepted the reality that it may be a long time before it returns to the office, or the office-adjacent customs of the city’s glad-handing classes: the power lunches, the networking receptions, the comped sports tickets and day trips to New York on the Acela. The silver Audi for commuting in style, not Zooming in peace. [Read more.]

    Man speaking at political convention in 1948

    Sweat, Steak, Five O’clock Shadows: How TV Transformed Political Conventions In 1948

    At the first widely televised political convention in 1948, a smiling Clare Boothe Luce stepped to the microphone with her blonde curls and white pearls shining under the bright lights. To delegates inside Philadelphia’s Municipal Auditorium, the former Republican congresswoman looked perfect. But on black-and-white television screens, “her face, hair and dress were all one washed-out color and her gestures seeming ill-matched and awkward,” one columnist wrote. [Read more.]

    Panda at National Zoo

    National Zoo’s Female Giant Panda Has A New ‘Miracle’ Cub

    Mei Xiang, the National Zoo’s female giant panda, delivered a “miracle” cub Friday — becoming at 22 the oldest giant panda to give birth in the United States and giving Washington its first giant panda cub in five years, the zoo said. [Read more.]

    Upcoming Debate Schedule

    September 29 — Cleveland, Ohio

    October 7 - Vice Presidential, Salt Lake City, Utah

    October 15 - Miami, Florida

    October 22 - Nashville, Tennessee

    Reminder: The current U.S. Fiscal Year ends on September 30

    Links from This Week's News Around the State & Country