Trump Pushes Congress on Coronavirus Rescue Aid

U.S. President Donald Trump pushed Congress Tuesday to quickly complete negotiations on a $2 trillion economic rescue package to help American workers and businesses severely impacted by the deadly coronavirus.“Congress must approve the deal, without all of the nonsense, today,” Trump said on Twitter. “The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy. Our workers will be hurt!”   Congress must approve the deal, without all of the nonsense, today. The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy. Our workers will be hurt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks outside her office on Capitol Hill, March 23, 2020.She added, “The country has to make that decision, and it’s not a question of let old, sick people die so the markets can thrive. I hear that in some of the conversation. It’s about how we address this in a scientific way and not notion-mongering, but evidence-based decision-making.”Republican and Democratic leaders have exchanged sharp words as negotiations on the aid package unfolded in recent days, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accusing Democrats of delaying the process by asking for changes to the bill and Schumer saying McConnell wasted time by bringing two procedural votes on the measure he knew would fail.Democrats first blocked advancing the aid package on Sunday.  After more negotiations Sunday night and Monday morning, they again voted against moving the legislation forward on Monday afternoon, triggering the fresh talks between Schumer and Mnuchin, with a phone call to Trump.The aid package is aimed at boosting the U.S. economy by sending direct payments to more than 90% of Americans and a vast array of U.S. businesses to help them weather the immediate and burgeoning economic effects of the coronavirus.Most U.S. families of four would get $3,000 in assistance, with the aid package also creating the $500 billion lending program for businesses, cities and states, and $350 billion more to help small businesses meet payroll costs at a time when there is a declining demand for their products and services.Democrats focused their objections on the $500 billion lending program for businesses, which some critics called a “slush fund” because the Treasury Department would have wide discretion over who gets the money, with little accounting for how the money is spent.That led to inclusion of an oversight panel to review the government handouts to businesses, to try to make certain the money is spent appropriately.Governors in at least 13 states have ordered millions of people to stay home, in effect quarantined, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. No national shutdown is planned.The toll from the coronavirus is mounting in the U.S. Nearly 44,000 cases have been confirmed, with more than 500 deaths. Both figures have markedly increased in recent days.


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