Stimulus Talks Remain Deadlocked as House Told No Votes Expected

(Bloomberg) — Prospects for a quick end to the stalemate over a new stimulus faded Monday with members of the House being told not to expect any action this week and many Senate Republicans rejecting the White House proposal for a deal.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.


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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.

President Donald Trump, well behind Democrat Joe Biden in every recent poll, again attempted to prod negotiations by urging the GOP by tweet to cut short confirmation hearings for his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to focus on bolstering the economy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to talk more this week as they attempt to bridge the gap between the Democrat’s $2.2 trillion proposal and the administration’s $1.8 trillion counteroffer.

Even if they manage to strike a deal, there’s almost no chance of getting legislation written and passed by Congress before the Nov. 3 election, in which control of the White House and the Senate is at stake.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, sent out a notice to lawmakers Monday saying “that due to the Trump Administration’s failure to reach an agreement on coronavirus relief, no votes are expected in the House this week.” The House is not in session this week and most members are away from Washington. But they remain on 24-hour standby, though, should an agreement be reached.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.


© Bloomberg
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Trump, making his first public appearance since returning from a three-day hospitalization for Covid-19, is setting the stage for a return to the campaign trail even as questions remain about whether he’s still contagious.

Trump’s changes in direction last week — first calling off talks in a tweet, then saying he wanted a bigger package than even Democrats have proposed — may have hardened Pelosi’s resolve to hold firm. On Sunday she called the White House offer a “miserable and deadly failure.”

Investors took the standoff in stride. U.S. stocks climbed to the highest in almost six weeks, fueled also by a rally in big technology companies, which Trump highlighted in a tweet Monday morning.

“The stimulus stalemate still looms large, though it failed to derail the market,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investment product at E*Trade Financial.

One big issue for the administration may be Senate Republicans.

Multiple GOP senators participating in a Saturday conference call told Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that any agreement with Democrats that ends up around $2 trillion is too much, according to two people familiar with the call.

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Meadows: Decision expected later Monday on Trump return to White House

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House Correspondents’ Association: ‘Outrageous’ for Trump to leave hospital without informing pool Trump sought to keep COVID-19 diagnosis secret Thursday as he awaited second test result: WSJ Photo of Mark Meadows rubbing his head during update on Trump’s health goes viral MORE on Monday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE is ready to return to a “normal work schedule” as he deals with COVID-19 and that a decision is expected later in the day on whether the president can return to the White House from a nearby hospital.

“That determination has not been made yet. Obviously, he continued to improve overnight and his health continues to improve,” Meadows said during a call to “Fox & Friends” from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“The doctors will actually have an evaluation sometime late morning and then the president, in consultation with the doctors, will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today,” Meadows added. “We’re still optimistic that based on his unbelievable progress and how strong he’s been in terms of his fight against this COVID-19 disease that he will be released, but that decision will not be made until later today.”

The comments echo those of the White House physician a day earlier, who told reporters on Sunday that Trump could return to the White House as early as Monday.

The president’s oxygen level dropped on Friday and Saturday, however, and he was given dexamethasone, a steroid typically used to treat severe cases of COVID-19, calling into question how serious Trump’s health problems are. Experts have noted that symptoms can flare up days after a person has contracted the virus and questioned the possibility Trump could leave the hospital in Bethesda, Md., so quickly.

“Obviously, this is an important day,” Meadows said on Monday. “The president continues to improve and is ready to get back to a normal work schedule.”

Trump was taken to Walter Reed on Friday evening, roughly 18 hours after he first disclosed to the public that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. The president was given supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday.

The White House has given conflicting messages about Trump’s state, eroding its credibility as the president deals with the virus. White House physician Sean Conley said Saturday the president was doing very well, but Meadows quickly contradicted him by acknowledging that Trump’s vitals were concerning on Friday and that he was not yet out of the woods.

National security adviser Robert O’BrienRobert O’BrienNational security adviser says Trump will stay a Walter Reed for ‘another period of time’ Trump aide Hope Hicks tests positive for COVID-19 CIA letting less intelligence on Russia reach Trump: report

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Liberal Tantrums Over Amy Coney Barrett Were Expected, With Rose Garden Decoration Being Very Triggering

Well, it’s official. As Katie wrote, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has been tapped to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg passed away on September 18 at the age of 87, which sent liberal America into meltdown mode. The liberal wing on the Court is crumbling and to make matters worse for them, President Trump is picking her successor. Nothing could be more delicious. And what’s better is that this isn’t much discontent among Senate Republicans this time. We’re pretty united. The only solid ‘no’ vote right now is Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) because Maine is weird and frankly, this SCOTUS fight will not help her. It will help everyone else. Nothing gets the conservative base more animated than a fight for the Supreme Court.  

Look, I’m not trying to excuse Collins’ weak sauce opposition, but I can understand the reasoning, I guess. Whatever, it’s of no concern because all loose ends are tied. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is behind us. And Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) another member of the GOP Senate Squish Squad is walking back her initial ‘nay’ vote. Mitch McConnell said to keep their powder dry and not make any declarative statements at the outset of this fight. That has appeared to have sunk through. Also, if Murkowski wants access to campaign war chest funds by the time of her re-election, remain in the ‘yea’ column on this issue. We have the votes. We’re going to fill this seat before Election Day. Period. 

Still, this is a free country. Liberals can have their rant. And they’re sure going bananas over this fight. Bill Maher attacked ACB over her Catholicism, which is going to be key. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) did that during her confirmation hearing for the appeals court. Some wacky stuff is about to trickle out from the mouths of the Left—this is no exception. America’s most underreported prejudice is about to rear its ugly head in a way not seen since 1858. For now, though, it seems there’s was an ‘as expected’ reaction regarding how this process is illegitimate. Some noted how the Rose Garden was decorated to resemble when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated back in 1993. 

And yes, there have been horrible swipes at ACB’s kids, with ‘woke’ lectures, but that was all spewed before this announcement was made official. It looks like most of the tantrums were out of their system.

This could change–I know.

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Liberal Tantrums Over Amy Coney Barrett Were Expected, With Rose Garden Decoration Being the Most Triggering

Well, it’s official. As Katie wrote, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has been tapped to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg passed away on September 18 at the age of 87, which sent liberal America into meltdown mode. The liberal wing on the Court is crumbling and to make matters worse for them, President Trump is picking her successor. Nothing could be more delicious. And what’s better is that this isn’t much discontent among Senate Republicans this time. We’re pretty united. The only solid ‘no’ vote right now is Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) because Maine is weird and frankly, this SCOTUS fight will not help her. It will help everyone else. Nothing gets the conservative base more animated than a fight for the Supreme Court.  

Look, I’m not trying to excuse Collins’ weak sauce opposition, but I can understand the reasoning, I guess. Whatever, it’s of no concern because all loose ends are tied. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is behind us. And Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) another member of the GOP Senate Squish Squad is walking back her initial ‘nay’ vote. Mitch McConnell said to keep their powder dry and not make any declarative statements at the outset of this fight. That has appeared to have sunk through. Also, if Murkowski wants access to campaign war chest funds by the time of her re-election, remain in the ‘yea’ column on this issue. We have the votes. We’re going to fill this seat before Election Day. Period. 

Still, this is a free country. Liberals can have their rant. And they’re sure going bananas over this fight. Bill Maher attacked ACB over her Catholicism, which is going to be key. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) did that during her confirmation hearing for the appeals court. Some wacky stuff is about to trickle out from the mouths of the Left—this is no exception. America’s most underreported prejudice is about to rear its ugly head in a way not seen since 1858. For now, though, it seems there’s was an ‘as expected’ reaction regarding how this process is illegitimate. Some noted how the Rose Garden was decorated to resemble when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated back in 1993. 

And yes, there have been horrible swipes at ACB’s kids, with ‘woke’ lectures, but that was all spewed before this announcement was made official. It looks like most of the tantrums were out of their system.

This could change–I know.

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U.S. airlines turn eyes to expected new House coronavirus relief proposal

By David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. airline unions expressed hope on Thursday that Congress could strike a deal in the coming days that would provide $25 billion to prevent tens of thousands of furloughs on Oct. 1 after the U.S. Treasury chief said he could not act unilaterally to save airline jobs.

A new Democratic-proposed House bill is expected to provide $2.4 trillion in coronavirus relief that would include funds for airlines and restaurants, a congressional aide said, down from $3.4 trillion approved in May. That figure is still far above the $300 billion Senate Republicans backed earlier this month.

While the White House has repeatedly said it would seek executive action to help airlines if Congress failed to pass a deal, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress on Thursday he cannot tap unused coronavirus lending authority to provide cash grants to airlines.

“Is there anything that you have under existing authorities, either the CARES act authorities, or prior law, that could help the airlines avoid these coming layoffs?” Republican Senator Tom Cotton asked Mnuchin.

“Unfortunately there is not,” Mnuchin said. He added the funding from Congress approved in March “literally saved the entire industry.”

Many congressional aides and some airlines are pessimistic about the prospects of a new bailout.

Some lawmakers are pushing for a deal before Oct. 1, when airlines are set to furlough tens of thousands of workers if they do not secure additional payroll support.

International President of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said labor’s pressure on lawmakers was having an impact.

“We are seeing that this is moving us to a full relief bill,” Nelson said over Facebook Live.

An initial $25 billion in payroll assistance under the CARES Act approved in March required no layoffs by airlines through Sept. 30, but with industry continuing to struggle, airlines are pleading with Congress for more money.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican, sought to fast-track legislation for a fresh $25.5 billion in airline bailout funds to avoid layoffs for another six months, but it failed to move forward after some senators raised objections.

American Airlines said it would furlough some 19,000 workers on Oct. 1 without fresh aid and halt service to 15 smaller airports.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are delaying the furlough date for their pilots by a month as they try to strike new agreements and await developments in Washington.

Treasury has a separate $25 billion loan fund for passenger airlines, but not all airlines are tapping it.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski, editing by Timothy Gardner)

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Smoky skies smothering B.C.’s Southern Interior expected to last through Thursday – Okanagan

With U.S. wildfire smoke still choking Okanagan skies with grey haze, yet another special air quality statement has been issued for B.C.’s Southern Interior.

Last Tuesday, smoke from wildfires in the states of California, Oregon and Washington drifted northwards, prompting what would be the first of a consecutive string of smoky skies bulletins and air quality statements for the region.

In the Southern Interior on that day, B.C.’s air quality health index (AQHI) rose sharply from low in the morning to its maximum setting.

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Wildfire smoke from western U.S. settles over Alberta

With the seemingly stationary smoke still blocking views, Environment Canada issued yet another special air quality statement for the Okanagan on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

As of 10:30 a.m., AQHI levels were at the maximum 10-plus rating, as were other communities in southern B.C., including Castlegar, Comox, Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria, the Fraser Valley and parts of Greater Vancouver.

Kamloops and Squamish had moderate ratings at 6, with Whistler and Prince Geroge. Elsewhere, Quesnel, Fort St. John, Smithers and Terrace were at 1, or low.






Smoky skies remain over many parts of B.C. Tuesday


Smoky skies remain over many parts of B.C. Tuesday

“Very heavy smoke from the United States is continuing to have extensive impacts across the southern third of the province, with lesser impacts extending into the mid-regions of the province,” said Environment Canada.

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“Smoky conditions are expected to be variable but persist in areas currently being impacted until Thursday (Sept 17).”

Global News meteorologist Mark Madryga says there will be very little rain, if any, in most southern B.C. areas through Thursday.

He says along with weak wind, the smoke will remain, though it may thin during the afternoon with daytime heat.






Smoke from wildfires over Calgary


Smoke from wildfires over Calgary




© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Serbia, Kosovo Expected To Sign Pact At White House

Serbia and Kosovo are expected to sign an agreement on opening economic relations at the White House Friday, giving President Donald Trump the opportunity to claim a new diplomatic victory for his administration.

Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic are scheduled to sign the pact at 11:00 am (1500 GMT) with Trump in attendance after a day of negotiations in Washington on Thursday, according to the White House.

The agreement is expected to be limited to the normalization of some economic ties, including possibly opening up road, rail and air links between the former Balkan war foes.

Although the European Union has been trying without success for nearly a decade to thaw a bitter relationship between Serbia and its former territory, which declared independence in 2008, an effort focused on business and commerce was launched more recently by US officials.

But Serbia made clear during the talks that they would not go as far as recognizing Kosovo as a fully-fledged state.

White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said late Thursday that the two sides had “made real progress today.”

Newly elected Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti (L) and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (R) are expected to sign agreements on opening economic relations after a day of talks in Washington Newly elected Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti (L) and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (R) are expected to sign agreements on opening economic relations after a day of talks in Washington Photo: AFP / Armend NIMANI

“Economic normalization means jobs for young people,” he said.

Hoti said Thursday they had made “great progress” on improving economic cooperation.

Vucic insisted that he would not accept anything that included recognizing Kosovo.

“We thought it should not be in a document about economic normalization, that we couldn’t accept it. People from the Trump cabinet listened (to) what we had to say, they were fair and I believe that in other documents that article is no longer there,” he said.

The two countries remain bitter over a bloody war fought two decades ago, in which 13,000 died.

Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.

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