House Democrats pushed through an aid package with little chance of becoming law.

House Democrats on Thursday pushed through a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan that would provide aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers, advancing a wish list with little chance of becoming law.

The pandemic relief measure passed the House on a 214-to-207 vote, with at least 17 Democrats joining Republicans in opposing it. The handful of moderate Democrats who bucked their party argued that with negotiations still taking place with the Trump administration, the chamber should vote on a bipartisan deal.

Republicans had already panned the relief bill as too large.

The decision to put it to a vote anyway on Thursday evening reflected mounting anxiety among some rank-and-file Democrats at the prospect of facing voters next month without being able to point to some action to provide relief. There was also a desire among some party members to formalize their latest offer.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that there was still a chance that the talks would produce a deal, but the vote shined a light on the continued failure of Congress and the White House to come together on a new package, and the dwindling chances that they can do so before lawmakers scatter to campaign for re-election.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with each other for about 50 minutes, with Mr. Mnuchin taking an offer of a $1.6 trillion package to Ms. Pelosi’s Capitol Hill suite.

Ms. Pelosi told reporters that she did not expect a resolution on a stimulus package to emerge Thursday. But she said that she was reviewing documents sent by the Treasury Department and that “we’re going back and forth with our paper and conversation.”

During the stalemate, several industries, notably airlines, are running into severe financial constraints as the virus persists and people continue to shy away from traveling. United Airlines and American Airlines began furloughs of 30,000 workers on Thursday after Congress was unable to come up with a fresh aid package for the industry.

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House clears sweeping Olympic and amateur sports oversight package

The House cleared by voice vote sweeping legislation Thursday designed to strengthen oversight of U.S. participation in the Olympics.

The bipartisan, bicameral package was the outgrowth of an investigation by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over sports policy.

“Today, the House passed our Olympic reform legislation advancing critical changes and effective safeguards to protect our Olympic, Paralympic and amateur athletes. Through the input and guidance of the courageous survivors — athletes who traveled to Washington, shared their stories and demanded change — we were able to advance this legislation through Congress,” Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and ranking member Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a joint statement.

The panel investigated the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s handling of well-documented allegations of abuse against athletes, as well as the response from governing bodies for individual sports like gymnastics.

The resulting legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent shortly before the August recess. It will now be on the way to President Donald Trump’s desk.

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The White House is proposing a $400 federal unemployment benefit as part of stimulus package

  • The White House is proposing a $400-a-week federal unemployment benefit as part of its stimulus package.
  • It would be retroactive to September 12, Roll Call first reported.
  • There appears to be early agreement among lawmakers and the White House that any federal benefit should pick up where an administration program left off.
  • “I think a lot of it is probably cost, and some of it is trying not to interact with a really weird program we don’t fully understand,” unemployment expert Michele Evermore told Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The White House is proposing to restore federal unemployment benefits at $400-per-week as part of its $1.6 stimulus plan offered to Democrats on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.

The plan would be retroactive to September 12, per Roll Call, which first reported the details of the Trump administration’s spending proposal, and expire on January 1.

It means payments would be dated just over a week after the Federal Emergency Management Administration said it was capping funding for six weeks of $300 jobless benefits for states taking up the federal “Lost Wages” program through September 5. President Donald Trump enacted it in early August through an executive order.

There appears to be early agreement among lawmakers and the White House for the federal government to pick up where FEMA left off. Democrats are proposing reviving a $600 federal benefit that expired in the summer through January, making it retroactive to September 6.

Read more: Stimulus talks press on as dealmakers push for another boost to unemployment payments. Here’s everything you need to know about the rescue package.

Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, said lawmakers are likely trying to avoid technical hurdles that could emerge if payments were retroactive to August, such as a jobless person receiving double the unemployment benefits from overlapping federal programs.

“I think a lot of it is probably cost, and some of it is trying not to interact with a really weird program we don’t fully understand,” Evermore told Business Insider. 

She added: “At this point, even small technical difficulties are a really big deal since state systems have been through so much.”

The White House’s unemployment program is still distributing jobless payments in many states, and experts don’t know how many people are receiving them since states aren’t required to report those figures, Evermore said. 

Congress and President Trump in March enacted a $600 federal supplement to state unemployment benefits that many experts say helped people buy groceries and pay rent while also propping up the economy. Lawmakers have been fiercely divided on a replacement amount.

Many Republicans argue that the $600 federal payments discourage work among the unemployed, a claim that numerous studies have challenged. 

New jobless claims have plateaued in recent weeks, regularly topping 800,000 over six months into the pandemic. Around 26.5 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, per Labor Department data.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday during a Fox Business Interview that

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Package for interior of Sindh on the anvil, says governor – Newspaper

SUKKUR: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will shortly announce a package for interior of Sindh on the pattern of the package for Karachi.

He told reporters at the residence of a local leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in Rohri near here on Wednesday that those who desired political change in the country should better look for it in their sleep because in reality it was impossible. The government of Imran Khan would complete five-year tenure and Senate election would be held in March, he reiterated.

He dismissed reports about imposition of governor’s rule in Sindh as rumors and said such news were deliberately spread to create chaos despite the fact that Imran Khan had never expressed desire to do so nor had it ever remained under consideration.

He said that opposition parties were busy trying to show their power on the street by taking out rallies after they lost all hope of getting an NRO but the government would never hold any talks with the opposition parties on the issue to help them hide their theft.

He said that the federal government would fully implement what it had announced for Sindh. The federal government was performing its duties in an adequate manner and it would not leave Sindh people alone, he said, adding the prime minister would soon announce a package for interior of Sindh like it did for Karachi.

The governor said that the policy of smart lockdown introduced by the prime minister was at first strongly criticised but now it was being replicated all over the world.

He said that he had arrived there on the prime minister’s directive to lay foundation stone for 43.4-kilometre-long road

being executed by National Highway Authority (NHA), an important part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project envisaged construction of addition of two lanes to N-55 National Road (Ratodero- Shikarpur).

Earlier, the governor arrived at Insaf House on Military Road where he was warmly welcomed by PTI leaders. A delegation of Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) led by advocate K.B. Kubar met the governor and discussed political issues and problems of lawyers’ community, including appointment of attorney general, housing scheme for ILF members, political victimisation and role of ILF members in bar election.

Later, the governor offered condolence to Syed Ashiq Hussain Shah, elder brother of provincial minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, over the death of their mother and attended a luncheon hosted for him by former GDA leader Ghous Bux Khan Mahar on his return from Shikarpur.

He was accompanied by opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Haleem Adil Shaikh and others.

Published in Dawn, October 1st , 2020

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House delays vote on Covid relief package in bid for last-minute deal


Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speak at the U.S. Capitol. | Alex Brandon – Pool/Getty Images

House Democrats are waiting one more day before voting on their coronavirus aid package, giving Speaker Nancy Pelosi a final 24 hours to reach a deal with the White House before taking up their own bill and going home.

The House is now expected to vote Thursday on Democrats’ $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, reversing course from earlier in the day, when lawmakers were told they would vote Wednesday night.

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But Pelosi and top Democrats delayed the vote to buy more for the last-gasp negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — which are widely seen as Congress’ final chance to approve more pandemic aid before the election. Several centrist Democrats had urged party leaders to hold off, arguing it would be fruitless to take a party-line vote if a deal may be clinched.

“We’ll have to see. If we have an agreement, we’re going to pass that agreement, then we’re done until after the election,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday, noting that timing for the rest of the week remained in flux. “It’s hard to say when we’re going to leave.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin met in the Capitol for 90 minutes on Wednesday afternoon, their first in-person sit down since bipartisan talks fell apart in early August. The meeting follows days of calls between the two with both parties under immense pressure to reach a bipartisan agreement that extends a financial lifeline to tens of millions of increasingly desperate Americans before the election.

In a statement, Pelosi said she and Mnuchin will continue to talk but offered no details on whether a deal was imminent.

“We found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversation will continue,” Pelosi said.

Mnuchin was also positive after meeting with Pelosi and then crossing the Capitol to huddle briefly with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“We made a lot of progress over the last few days,” Mnuchin told reporters as he left the Capitol. “We still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do. And we’re gonna see where we end up.”

Still, Senate Republicans remain cool to the talks, skeptical that they will be able to pass a large bill with majority GOP support and unwilling to simply provide a blank check to the White House. Republicans coalesced behind a $300 billion bill earlier this month, but Senate Democrats blocked it after deeming it far short of what’s needed to address the crisis.

McConnell said Thursday that Republicans want another rescue package but Democrats’ $2.2 trillion price tag is simply “too high.”

“It’s safe to say we’re far apart,” McConnell told reporters. “The thought that Senate Republicans would go up to $2.2 trillion is outlandish.”

The final flurry of negotiations in Washington comes as tens of thousands of layoffs are piling up in industries battered by the pandemic, from airlines to theme parks

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House Unveils New Stimulus Package as Pelosi and Mnuchin Resume Talks

“With families, businesses and local communities truly hurting from the impacts of this health and economic crisis, it’s unconscionable for Congress to go home without taking action,” said Representative Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey. “Right now, there’s a huge amount of support from both sides of the aisle to finally get a new relief package over the finish line, and I’m hopeful that the legislation being announced today can help get the House and Senate to come to an agreement and that the president can sign it into law as soon as possible.”

After negotiating an agreement early last week to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on Thursday, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin agreed to resume conversations surrounding a broader relief package.

“I think we can find our common ground, and we’re ready when he comes back,” Ms. Pelosi said on MSNBC early Monday, before her call with Mr. Mnuchin. “We’re ready to have that conversation, but he has to come back with much more money to get the job done. So, I’m hopeful. I’m optimistic.”

Mr. Mnuchin, along with Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, has repeatedly urged Congress to provide more economic aid, with programs and funding approved in the $2.2 trillion stimulus law in March continuing to expire. But some Senate Republicans and some White House officials have warned against adding to the nation’s debt with another sweeping package, even as many economists have warned it is necessary to ensure a swift recovery from the economic toll of the pandemic.

“If Democrats are willing to sit down, I’m willing to sit down any time for bipartisan legislation in the Senate,” Mr. Mnuchin said in testimony this month before the Senate Banking Committee. “Let’s pass something quickly.”

The legislation unveiled on Monday would also delay deadlines for both the collection of census data and the submission of redistricting data to Congress, which the White House has been trying to speed ahead on and resisted including in the stopgap funding bill. It would provide $75 billion for coronavirus testing and tracing, offer funds for rental assistance, require a federal standard for worker protections against the coronavirus and revive a lapsed popular program for small businesses.

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House Democrats Introduce Scaled-Back Coronavirus Aid Package : NPR

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced a revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package after weeks of stalled talks.

Jose Luis Magana/AP


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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced a revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package after weeks of stalled talks.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

House Democrats have released a $2.2 trillion coronavirus response package as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attempt to revive long-stalled aid negotiations.

The legislation addresses many of Democrats’ top priorities, like additional money for testing and drug development, additional unemployment benefits and small business loans, that were included in the $3.4 trillion bill that passed the House in May. Some of the reduced cost comes from scaling back the duration of the benefits in order to come closer to compromise with Republicans.

Pelosi called the package an effort to follow through on the promise to work with Republicans who are seeking a narrower response.

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats. “We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”

The legislation would revive the expired $600 additional weekly federal unemployment benefit through January and lift caps on how long people can file for unemployment.

Democrats also included another round of direct payments of $1,200 per person and $500 per dependent, money to refresh the popular Paycheck Protection Program with new money for small business loans, additional money for food security programs and $436 billion in relief for states, local governments, tribes and territories.

Republicans balked at the $3.4 trillion package that passed the House in March. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has proposed his own $300 billion bill, but that legislation failed in the Senate earlier this month.

This latest House bill would cost significantly less than the earlier bill from Democrats but it still includes several items that Republicans have already rejected. One controversial provision would temporarily lift a cap on state and local tax deductions that was part of the 2017 GOP tax overhaul. Republicans also reject the idea that state governments need more money from the federal government.

Pelosi is expected to resume talks with Mnuchin this week in hopes of reaching an agreement ahead of the election in November.

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Canadian woman suspected of sending White House a ricin package pleads not guilty

A Canadian woman suspected of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House last week appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where she pleaded not guilty.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested Sunday at the New York-Canada border on a charge of threatening the president. Her court appearance was brief and U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff's Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 
(Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, via AP)

Ferrier, who wore a tan jail jumpsuit, had her hands in cuffs and a chain around her waist. A blue mask covered much of her face as she spoke only briefly to answer the judge’s questions.

Through an interpreter and her attorney, she also asked for an identity hearing — which would compel the government to prove that she is indeed the person for whom the arrest warrant was issued — and a probable cause hearing for the government to prove there is sufficient cause to proceed in the case. The judge ordered her held without bail.

QUEBEC TOWN ASBESTOS PAUSES NAME CHANGE PROCESS AFTER CITIZEN COMPLAINTS

Her attorney, Fonda Kubiak, said Ferrier was exercising her rights to those hearings, which were scheduled for Monday.

“She has a presumption of innocence and that’ll be pursued further after today,” Kubiak said outside the courthouse.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 
(The Canadian Press via AP)

The package, postmarked from Canada and addressed to the White House, was sent sometime last week and intercepted at a mail sorting facility on Friday. It included a letter that included disparaging remarks about the president, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

During the investigation, the FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas in September and also had stamps indicating that they’d been mailed from Canada, according to court papers.

Those letters “contained similar language” to the letter that was sent to Trump and were sent to people affiliated with facilities where Ferrier had been jailed in 2019.

Investigators also matched Ferrier’s fingerprints from four of the letters, the complaint said. In Facebook and Twitter posts in September, Ferrier also wrote threatening messages against the president and used similar wording as she did in the letter, according to the document.

‘DARKNET’ OPIOID TAKEDOWN NABS 179 SUSPECTS WORLDWIDE AND $6.5M SEIZED, DOJ ANNOUNCES

When she was arrested Sunday while trying to enter a border crossing in Buffalo, Ferrier told Customs and Border Patrol agents that she was “wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters,” the complaint said. Officers found a loaded gun in her waistband and said she was also carrying a knife.

Ferrier was booked into the Hidalgo County jail in March of 2019

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U.S. House Democrats crafting new $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief package

By David Morgan



Nancy Pelosi wearing a purple shirt: FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill


© Reuters/ALEXANDER DRAGO
FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are working on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that could be voted on next week, a key lawmaker said on Thursday, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated that she is ready to negotiate with the White House.

With formal COVID-19 relief talks stalled for nearly seven weeks, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said new legislative efforts got under way this week after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in congressional testimony that lawmakers needed to provide further support for an economy reeling from the pandemic.



Richard Neal wearing a suit and tie reading a book: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Neal discusses request for copies of President Donald Trump's tax returns at Capitol in Washington


© Reuters/YURI GRIPAS
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Neal discusses request for copies of President Donald Trump’s tax returns at Capitol in Washington

“The contours are already there. I think now it’s about time frame and things like that,” Neal told reporters when asked about the potential for new legislation.

He predicted a vote could come within days. “I assume, since the House is scheduled to break for the election cycle, then I think next week’s … appropriate,” said Neal, adding that Pelosi would determine when a legislative package might be introduced.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy dismissed the new initiative as partisan. Pelosi also faces pressure from moderate House Democrats who say they want to see bipartisan aid proposals that have a chance of becoming law.

“If it’s a messaging exercise, it’s worthless,” Representative Dean Phillips, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, told CNN. He said the effort risked looking like Senate Republicans who had unsuccessfully pushed their own partisan coronavirus aid bill.

“Many of us are getting sick of that,” Phillips said.

Stocks reacting positively to the announcements from Congress, with the S&P reaching a session high shortly after, before paring some gains.

Formal talks between Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows broke down without a deal on Aug. 7, with the two sides far apart. Pelosi and Mnuchin have since spoken by phone.

“We’re ready for negotiation,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday, saying she had last spoken to Mnuchin on Wednesday.

Pelosi and Schumer, who initially sought a $3.4 trillion relief package, have since scaled back their demands to $2.2 trillion. Neal said a new legislative package would be somewhere near $2.2 trillion. Some media reports said it could be $2.4 trillion.

But it was not clear whether the White House would agree to such a sum. Meadows has said that Trump would be willing to sign a $1.3 trillion relief package.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, who have not been involved directly in the negotiations, initially proposed a $1 trillion bill, which was rejected by many Republicans who thought it too large and by Senate Democrats who said it was too small.

Senate Republicans later tried and failed to bring a smaller $300 billion

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U.S. House Democrats Crafting New $2.2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package | Top News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are working on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that could be voted on next week, a key lawmaker said on Thursday, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated that she is ready to negotiate with the White House.

With formal COVID-19 relief talks stalled for nearly seven weeks, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said new legislative efforts got under way this week after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in congressional testimony that lawmakers needed to provide further support for an economy reeling from the pandemic.

“The contours are already there. I think now it’s about time frame and things like that,” Neal told reporters when asked about the potential for new legislation.

He predicted a vote could come within days. “I assume, since the House is scheduled to break for the election cycle, then I think next week’s … appropriate,” said Neal, adding that Pelosi would determine when a legislative package might be introduced.

But a leading House Republican cast doubt on the new initiative, saying it was not bipartisan. “She (Pelosi) could pass 10 more partisan bills. That won’t get us closer to helping small businesses. Just another wasted exercise,” Representative Kevin Brady, the top Republican on Neal’s committee, told reporters.

Stocks reacting positively to the announcements from Congress, with the S&P reaching a session high shortly after, before paring some gains.

Formal talks between Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows broke down without a deal on Aug. 7, with the two sides far apart. Pelosi and Mnuchin have since spoken by phone.

“We’re ready for negotiation,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday, saying she had last spoken to Mnuchin on Wednesday.

Pelosi and Schumer, who initially sought a $3.4 trillion relief package, have since scaled back their demands to $2.2 trillion. Neal said a new legislative package would be somewhere near $2.2 trillion. Some media reports said it could be $2.4 trillion.

But it was not clear whether the White House would agree to such a sum. Meadows has said that Trump would be willing to sign a $1.3 trillion relief package.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, who have not been involved directly in the negotiations, initially proposed a $1 trillion bill, which was rejected by many Republicans who thought it too large and by Senate Democrats who said it was too small.

Senate Republicans later tried and failed to bring a smaller $300 billion bill to the floor.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Daniel Wallis)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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