signals

U.S. airlines urge relief as White House signals possible piecemeal aid

By Tracy Rucinski



a airplane that is parked on the tarmac at an airport: FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 jet sits at a gate at Washington's Reagan National airport with U.S. Capitol building in the background in Washington


© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 jet sits at a gate at Washington’s Reagan National airport with U.S. Capitol building in the background in Washington

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. airlines urged top lawmakers on Wednesday to advance a standalone bill that would extend $25 billion in payroll support through March, as the Trump administration signaled possible piecemeal legislation a day after walking away from broad COVID-19 relief talks.



a group of fighter jets fly through the air: FILE PHOTO: Delta Air Lines passenger planes parked in Birmingham


© Reuters/ELIJAH NOUVELAGE
FILE PHOTO: Delta Air Lines passenger planes parked in Birmingham

“We are disappointed that negotiations between Congress and the Administration over additional COVID-19 relief were suddenly suspended yesterday,” Airlines for America, the main industry trade group, and a dozen airline unions wrote in a letter on Wednesday seen by Reuters.

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“Now, in the absence of an overall COVID-19 relief package, we urge you to advance standalone legislation to extend the PSP (payroll support program),” it said.

The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Earlier, White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told reporters that stimulus talks were off but that negotiators were looking at standalone bills on 10 things that “we agree on.”

The idea of airline relief has so far enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Washington, though last week Representative Peter DeFazio, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, failed to win approval of a standalone bipartisan measure for airlines under unanimous consent after some Republicans objected.

Airline shares jumped on Wednesday after sinking suddenly a day earlier on remarks by President Donald Trump that his administration would abandon talks with congressional Democrats over proposals to spend at least $1.6 trillion in additional coronavirus relief funds.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chizu

White House signals stronger coronavirus precautions, but Trump continues to resist

At least nine White House employees have now tested positive for the virus, including senior adviser Stephen Miller, who got his result late Tuesday, a senior administration official said. Trump’s aides, allies and advisers find themselves grappling with how to implement more safety measures and precautions without displeasing their boss, who continues to say — as he did in a tweet Monday — “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

In a video he recorded maskless from the White House south balcony Monday night, the president also falsely claimed that perhaps he was “immune” to the virus, said he felt “better than 20 years ago” and urged the public to “get out there.”

The result is a bifurcated culture in Trump’s White House and broader orbit, with informal and halting steps toward more rigorous health measures often undermined or upended by the president.

His team, for instance, tried to puzzle out if there was a way for him to safely return to the Oval Office on Tuesday but ultimately nixed the request, said two people familiar with the discussions, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.

“The White House really isn’t doing anything you’re supposed to be doing in these situations,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist on the faculty of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Rasmussen added that while she agreed with Trump’s call not succumb to fear, “we also shouldn’t not take the virus seriously just because President Trump says he feels better and is flying around on Marine One and standing on the balcony like Evita.”

On Monday, the White House Management Office sent out an email to senior staff who routinely interact with Trump, aimed at protecting both the president and his advisers. The memo, obtained

Pelosi signals no coronavirus deal likely with White House

“We come from two different places,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference later Thursday. “Hopefully we can find our common ground on this and do so soon.”

Pelosi said she is expecting the White House to come back with “some counter” offer but that the House is still moving forward with a vote later Thursday on the Democrats’ own $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Lawmakers would then leave Washington as soon as Thursday evening for pre-election campaigning — putting trillions of dollars in aid to struggling Americans and businesses on hold until after the election, possibly sliding into next year.

Pelosi said a vote on their bill doesn’t signal an end to the talks with Mnuchin and doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to reach some kind of deal before the election.

“It just says, you asked, here’s what it is. This is how we came down,” Pelosi said of her decision to move forward with the vote.

But many House Democrats are going into the vote with a grim outlook, frustrated at the months of stalled negotiations and anxious that voters back home will blame them for the failure to deliver more help while tens of millions of Americans remain out of work. Government relief programs — like extra jobless aid or eviction protections — have long since expired. Another program that helped keep tens of thousands of airline industry workers employed expired Sept. 30, and major airlines announced massive layoffs, despite new government loans.

The stalemate followed several days of negotiations between Pelosi and Mnuchin as the two attempted to reach a deal before Congress was scheduled to depart Washington until after the election.

Pelosi and Mnuchin held several phone calls since Sunday and huddled in the speaker’s suite for a 90-minute meeting Wednesday, their first

Tim Scott signals White House about getting Trump to ‘correct’ debate exchange on white supremacists

Sen. Tim Scott said he told the White House that President Trump should “correct” his statement in response to a debate question about white supremacists.



Tim Scott wearing a suit and tie


© Provided by Washington Examiner


The lone black Republican currently in the Senate said on Wednesday that he believes the president “misspoke” during the first face-off against former Vice President Joe Biden that was moderated by Fox News’s Chris Wallace.

“I think he misspoke in response to Chris Wallace’s comment. He was asking Chris what he wanted to say, I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it, if he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak,” the South Carolina senator told reporters, according to CNN.

“I’ve already sent my comments to the chief of staff,” Scott noted, referring to Mark Meadows.

During the debate, Wallace asked Trump if he would also denounce far-right militias and white supremacist groups who have participated in violence.

Trump initially responded that he was “willing to do that,” but he did not explicitly condemn any group.

“Do you want to call them — what do you want to call them? Give me a name,” Trump asked Wallace before addressing a specific right-wing group, the Proud Boys.

“Proud Boys? Stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody has got to do something about antifa and the Left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing problem,” he said.

The Trump campaign has attempted to downplay the president’s remarks at the debate, with spokesman Hogan Gidley saying Trump has condemned white supremacists in the past.

Earlier on Wednesday another Republican in the upper chamber, Sen. Mitt Romney, told reporters that “of course” Trump should have condemned white supremacists when given the opportunity during the debate.

Tags: News, Tim Scott, White