Brian Naylor

Federal workers are starting to be called back into their offices in some areas, and among the first to be returning are employees of the Internal Revenue Service. It's a busy time.

The coronavirus pandemic prompted the government to extend the deadline for filing tax returns until July 15 — which is just around the corner. Meanwhile, the IRS is still distributing coronavirus relief checks to millions of Americans.

Much of the work of processing tax returns is automated, as some 90% of taxpayers file theirs electronically, according to the IRS.

Activists protesting police brutality are calling on cities and states to defund their police. Funding for local law enforcement now increasingly comes from the federal government.

Federal departments ranging from the Department of Justice to the Department of Agriculture have grant programs aimed at hiring more police, equipping them and constructing new police facilities.

Some experts say that federal involvement undermines community accountability and focuses more on enforcement than minimizing harm.

President Trump, touting May's lower-than-expected unemployment rate Friday, said a strong economy was the "greatest thing that could happen for race relations."

And he seemed to proclaim that George Floyd, whose killing by police in Minneapolis has sparked more than a week of protests, would be happy with the economic news.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday defended the decision to order that protesters be driven back from a park near the White House this week and said extremist groups were involved in sometimes violent demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

Former President Barack Obama said the protests in cities across the nation in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis under a police officer's knee "represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States."

Eight states and the District of Columbia are holding primary elections next week amid the coronavirus pandemic, and voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail in record numbers.

It is likely to be a preview of what's to come in the fall, and some worry whether the U.S. Postal Service is up to the challenge.

A lot of people like the Postal Service; according to a recent Pew poll, 91% of Americans had a positive view, higher than any other branch of government. But it's an agency with some big problems.

The 2020 presidential election is more than five months away. So it may seem a bit early to think about — much less prepare for — a possible presidential transition.

But under law, and behind the scenes, that's just what the Trump administration and staffers for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, have begun to do.

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Updated at 3 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that state governors should allow churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship to reopen immediately.

In brief comments at the White House, Trump said houses of worship are "essential places that provide essential services." Churches have faced restrictions for gatherings and ceremonies as public health officials worked to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Some have chafed at the restrictions.

Updated at 12:37 p.m. ET

The Senate Banking Committee took its first look at spending under the massive CARES Act, which Congress approved in March to provide assistance to individuals, businesses and local governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were pressed by senators about their stewardship of specific aspects of the approximately $2 trillion relief package at Tuesday's remote hearing.

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