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Biden-Trump debate, Amy Coney Barrett SCOTUS nomination: 5 things to know Thursday

3 min read
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/10/22/trump-biden-debate-amy-coney-barrett-coronavirus-vaccine/3679654001/

Final Trump vs. Biden debate: Brace for another blistering showdown

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will have their last chance to appeal to a wide swath of voters Thursday in the final debate ahead of Election Day. The high-stakes political event could be a make-or-break moment for the president, who has been trailing Biden nationally by double digits in some polls. For Biden, experts said, the goal is much easier: Do no harm. In addition, the Commission on Presidential Debates said it will mute each candidate’s microphone for two minutes as their rival answers questions — a move experts described as unprecedented in a general election presidential debate. 

A server wears a face shield and face-covering as people sit to watch a broadcast of the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Senate panel to vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to SCOTUS

The Senate panel charged with vetting Amy Coney Barrett is set to approve her nomination to the Supreme Court on Thursday.  Democrats are expected to employ a variety of procedural tactics to delay Thursday’s hearing but have acknowledged they cannot block what appears to be her inevitable confirmation to the high court. Barrett is expected to be approved in a party line 12-10 vote. Thursday’s vote follows four days of hearings last week, where senators peppered Barrett with questions about a host of issues that could come before the high court, including the Affordable Care Act, abortion, voting rights and climate change. The full Senate will then take up her nomination and tee up a final vote for Monday. 

Mike Pence will head to Indiana between rallies

Vice President Mike Pence will collect some much-needed campaign dollars from his home state during a trip to Indiana on Thursday — a visit that is sandwiched between multiple rallies in battleground states.  Pence will meet privately with a group of donors before a public rally at an airport in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who Bill Bean, a GOP donor and developer, said was squeezed into Pence’s schedule as a “favor to the supporters here in the area” and not because the Trump/Pence campaign is concerned about losing Indiana or because the coffers are running dry.” National polls and those in competitive states near Indiana show Trump behind less than two weeks before Election Day. Pence is expected to cast his vote in Indiana on Friday, then he’ll head to Toledo, Ohio for another rally. 

FDA group holds first meeting about COVID-19 vaccines

An important yet little-known FDA advisory group that will someday be one of the last groups to sign off on a COVID-19 vaccine will convene virtually on Thursday. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is a group of outside experts who advise the FDA on whether or not to approve drugs, therapeutics and vaccines after they have gone through the FDA’s rigorous approval process. Does this mean a vaccine is ready to be approved? Not quite. The committee will not vote on any specific vaccine on Thursday, but they’re expected to discuss FDA’s guidance, requirements and licensing.  

Cameron Peak Fire, East Troublesome Fire, rage on in Colorado 

A red flag warning through Thursday morning was expected to complicate firefighters’ battle against the Cameron Peak Fire, the largest wildfire in Colorado history. The forecast called for winds of nearly 60 mph Wednesday night over the western portions of the fire before cold and windy weather with the possibility of snow moves into the area later Thursday into early Friday. “We are looking at another critical fire weather day,” Paul Delmerico, the fire’s operations section chief, said. “These conditions are really tough for firefighters.” By Wednesday night, the Cameron Peak Fire had grown to more than 206,000 acres. Another of the 11 wildfires burning in Colorado, the East Troublesome Fire, forced the mandatory evacuation Wednesday night of Grand Lake, a town of about 500 people located about 100 miles northwest of Denver. The blaze, which had torched about 20,000 acres and was just 10% contained, was “growing faster than we can catch it right,” Incident Commander Jake Winfield warned Wednesday night.

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