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.

One

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Questions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight

The White House and President TrumpDonald John TrumpJaime Harrison debates Graham behind plexiglass shield Doctors, White House staff offer conflicting messages on president’s health Trump given second dose of Remdesivir ‘without complication’, ‘not yet out of the woods’, Conley says MORE‘s doctors sought Sunday to project a positive message about the president’s battle against COVID-19 even as contradictory statements and limited information left a number of unanswered questions about his condition.

The team of doctors caring for President Trump on Sunday said he could return to the White House as soon as Monday while at the same time disclosing he had been on supplemental oxygen and that he was receiving a drug normally given to seriously ill patients.

And Trump himself sparked concern – and outrage – when he left his hospital room at Walter Reed Military Medical Center to wave to the supporters gathered outside from the back seat of an SUV.

White House physician Sean Conley said Sunday that Trump has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen levels since he was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus late Thursday evening and that he had received supplemental oxygen at least once. 

The doctors also said Trump was given a steroid called dexamethasone that is generally given to people seriously ill with COVID-19, which has killed nearly 210,000 people in the U.S.

 

The White House physician admitted that officials had been intentionally vague a day earlier when pointedly asked when Trump had been administered supplemental oxygen in an attempt to be “upbeat” about the president’s prognosis.

“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, over his course of illness has had. I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so, came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true,” he told reporters in a Sunday morning news conference outside Walter Reed Medical Center, where Trump has been since Friday.

White House communications director Alyssa Farah after the medical briefing echoed that sentiment.

“The other point I would make, which is what [Conley] alluded to, is when you’re treating a patient, you want to project confidence. You want to lift their spirits, and that was the intent,” she said.

Even as he disclosed more on Sunday, Conley avoided answering questions about what X-rays and CT scans had revealed and whether Trump’s lungs had been damaged.

Asked whether Trump is being held in a negative pressure room, Conley declined to “get into the specifics of his care.”

Conley also said that he didn’t know whether Trump had received another dose of supplemental oxygen on Saturday, the second time he experienced a drop in his oxygen level, adding that he would need to check with the president’s nurses.

Trump himself appeared in a video later Sunday, promising a “surprise visit” to supporters gathered outside the hospital and saying that he had “learned a lot” about COVID-19 since his

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Trump feels very well, will remain hospitalized: White House official

FILE PHOTO: National Security adviser Robert O’Brien speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump feels very well and wants to get back to work at the White House but will remain hospitalized, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday.

“I spoke with the Chief of Staff (Mark Meadows) this morning and the good news is the president feels very well and he actually wants to get back home to the White House and get back to work, but I think he’s going to stay at Walter Reed for at least another period of time,” O’Brien said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

O’Brien, who himself had coronavirus over the summer, said the seventh and eighth days “are the critical days so I think the doctors want to make sure that they’re there for the president.”

O’Brien said Trump will receive a national security briefing remotely later on Sunday from himself, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley.

Asked if there had been discussions on transfer of power should Trump become incapacitated, O’Brien said, “No, that’s not something that’s on the table at this point.” He said he would not address hypotheticals but, “We have plans for everything.”

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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White House, Democrats remain far from deal on fresh round of COVID-19 aid

By David Morgan and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cautioned on Thursday that Democrats and the Trump administration remain far from agreement on COVID-19 relief in several key areas, saying the two sides were locked in debate over both dollars and values.

Congressional Democrats led by Pelosi have proposed a $2.2 trillion package to respond to a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work. Republican President Donald Trump’s negotiating team has suggested a $1.6 trillion response, and the White House on Thursday dismissed Democrats’ offer as not serious.

As lawmakers prepared to leave Washington for the remaining weeks of the 2020 presidential and congressional campaign, Pelosi was to speak again to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by phone at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), a source familiar with the situation said. They were expected to try to bridge divisions over aid to state and local governments, Democratic demands for a child tax credit and stronger worker safety, healthcare and small businesses.

“We not only have a dollars debate, we have a values debate. Still, I’m optimistic,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference.

That public confidence belied Pelosi’s message to fellow Democrats in a Thursday call. She told colleagues “I don’t see a deal happening right now,” a Democratic leadership aide said, confirming an earlier Politico report.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the Democratic proposal as “not a serious offer.”

Pelosi said of the White House proposal on Bloomberg TV: “This isn’t half a loaf. What they’re offering is the heel of the loaf.”

A bipartisan deal has been long delayed by disagreements over Democratic demands for aid to state and local governments and Republican insistence for a provision protecting businesses and schools from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Republican Senator Mike Braun told CNBC on Thursday that a deal worth over $1.6 trillion could be rejected by one-third to one-half of Senate Republicans. That would still allow a bill to pass with support from Democrats.

Pelosi and Mnuchin met for 90 minutes in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and each emerged pledging to continue discussions.

Mnuchin raised hopes of an agreement by telling reporters that the discussions had made “a lot of progress in a lot of areas.”

Lawmakers and securities analysts viewed talks as a last-gasp effort to secure relief ahead of the Nov. 3 election for tens of millions of Americans and business including U.S. airlines, which have begun furloughing over 32,000 workers.

The Trump administration has proposed a $20 billion extension in aid for the battered airline industry, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters late on Wednesday. The extension would run for six months.

Mnuchin said separately that a deal would also include direct payments to American individuals and families.

Pressure for a deal has been mounting on the White House and Congress, from the devastating effects of a coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 7.2 million people in the United

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Interior Minister Aryeh Deri: Synagogues must remain open on Yom Kippur – Inside Israel

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri

Knesset Spokesperson

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who stated yesterday that he would only support the closure of synagogues if demonstrations were significantly restricted, clarified today that he believes the synagogues should remain open on Yom Kippur regardless of any other restrictions that are imposed by the government.

“Synagogues must be allowed to remain open on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year,” he wrote on Twitter this morning. “They can operate according to the ‘purple tag’ restricted outline that was already agreed upon in government, just as businesses are permitted to do. Alongside this, we are busy trying to prepare a great many additional places where prayers can be held all over the country, in order to enable people to pray outdoors [on Yom Kippur],” he noted.

Deri conceded that synagogues could be closed for the remainder of the lockdown period: “During the rest of the lockdown, if the Health Ministry objects to people gathering in enclosed spaces, we will all pray outdoors,” he wrote, adding that, “and of course, during the lockdown, anyone who wants to attend a protest will do so only in the vicinity of his home. It has to be made clear that the same law applies to both synagogues and protests.”

The government’s coronavirus cabinet is due to convene later today to reach final decisions on restrictions to be applied to synagogues, demonstrations, and the economy during the coming weeks of the lockdown. An hours-long meeting yesterday failed to achieve consensus on the key issues of Yom Kippur prayers and left-wing demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s Residence.

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