Coronavirus

McConnell plans coronavirus aid vote as Pelosi says White House stimulus plan falls short

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans a vote on limited coronavirus stimulus legislation based around the Paycheck Protection Program this month.
  • Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted that lawmakers should “go big or go home” ahead of the 2020 election.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating a potential stimulus deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said the latest White House proposal “falls significantly short” of what is need to address the crisis.



Mitch McConnell wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks with Democratic challenger Amy McGrath during a debate on October 12, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky.


© Provided by CNBC
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks with Democratic challenger Amy McGrath during a debate on October 12, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Senate will vote on a limited coronavirus stimulus bill this month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, as lawmakers stumble in their push to send aid to Americans before the 2020 election.

In a statement, the Kentucky Republican said the Senate would take up aid legislation after the full chamber returns on Monday. McConnell called the plan “targeted relief for American workers, including new funding” for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. Speaking at an event in his home state, he said the bill would also include money for schools, an unemployment insurance boost and liability protections for businesses.

McConnell said in his statement that the Senate would have enough time to both pass the relief proposal and confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “unless Democrats block this aid for workers.” Democrats have in recent days targeted Republicans for moving forward with Barrett’s nomination while millions of Americans left jobless by the virus outbreak await federal assistance.

Democrats, who blocked a roughly $500 billion Republican plan in the Senate last month, could dismiss the latest GOP proposal as inadequate. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Democrats

Trump comes back negative for coronavirus on antigen test, White House doc says

President Trump tested negative for the coronavirus on consecutive days, his doctor said Monday as the president flew to Florida for a rally.

Dr. Sean P. Conley said Mr. Trump tested negative using an Abbott BinaxNow antigen card, the type of test the administration is sending to nursing homes and governors across the country.

Dr. Conley said the tests, combined with lab data such as the president’s viral load and culture data, suggest the virus is not replicating in the president’s system.

“This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the president is not infectious to others,” Dr. Conley wrote.

The doctor on Saturday said he believed that Mr. Trump was no longer infectious after testing positive for the virus Oct. 1 and spending three days at the hospital.

The president lined up a busy campaign schedule, starting with Monday’s rally in Sanford, Florida, and events in Pennsylvania and Iowa over the next two days.

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Trump Tests Negative for Coronavirus, White House Doctor Says

President Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus “on consecutive days,” according to White House physician Dr. Sean Conley.

In a memo to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany posted on Twitter Monday evening, shortly before Trump’s first scheduled campaign rally since receiving a positive diagnosis, Conley said the president is “not infectious to others.”

“In response to your inquiry regarding the President’s most recent COVID-19 tests, I can share with you that he has tested NEGATIVE, on consecutive days, using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card,” Conley wrote. “It is important to note that this test was not used in isolation for the determination of the President’s current negative status.”

He continued: “Repeatedly negative antigen tests, taken in context with additional clinical and laboratory data, including viral load, subgeneric RNA, and PCR style threshold measurements, as well as an ongoing assessment of viral culture data, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication.”

“This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the President is not infectious to others,” Conley said.

On Saturday, Conley said in a memo that Trump was no longer contagious, but had not clarified whether or not the president had tested negative for the coronavirus.

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White House, Democrats Both Support Coronavirus Stimulus Checks, Kudlow Expects Republicans To Fall In Line

KEY POINTS

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said stimulus talks appear to be at a standstill
  • Larry Kudlow says talks are not dead 
  • Kudlow insisted the U.S. is in a V-shaped recovery but certain sectors still need help

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says he expects Republicans to fall in line if the White House reaches agreement with Democrats on the next round of coronavirus stimulus relief.

Negotiations appeared at a standstill after President Donald Trump agreed to boost the size of the package to $1.8 trillion – a move rejected by Democrats who called it inadequate and Republicans who said it was too expensive.

Kudlow told CNN’s “State of the Union” he talked with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Saturday night and is convinced stimulus talks are not dead, noting Senate Republicans unanimously passed their own version of coronavirus relief – albeit a modest $500 billion measure – and “they will go along with it” once a deal is struck between Democrats and the White House.

House Democrats earlier passed a $2.2 trillion package, a slimmed down version of the more than $3 trillion measure they approved in May.

“We’re asking for targeted assistance,” said Kudlow, ticking off a list: enhanced unemployment benefits, aid to small businesses and direct stimulus checks to individuals.

“Those are things everybody absolutely wants,” Kudlow said.

Among the sticking points is the size of enhanced unemployment benefits. Democrats wants Americans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic to receive an extra $600 a week – the same amount that was approved as part of the CARES Act in March – while the White House has supported $400 a week.

Democrats also want funds for cash-strapped state and local governments, which bore the brunt of coronavirus costs, help for schools for COVID-19 testing and cleaning,

D.C. reports increased demand for coronavirus tests amid White House outbreak

A testing site outside the White House on Friday urged anyone who had worked or visited to get tested. That site conducted only 80 tests, far below the hundreds processed at other locations, said Susana Castillo, a Bowser spokeswoman.

The city will not operate a testing site near the White House this week.

The increase in testing demand comes as D.C. is seeing a rise in infections this month. The city was reporting a rolling seven-day average of 5.3 cases per 100,000 residents on Oct. 1 — a number that had risen to 9.5 as of Saturday.

City officials offered no explanation for the increasing caseload, and it’s unclear whether the rise is connected to the White House outbreak. Only D.C. residents appear in the city’s count, and many federal officials declare residency elsewhere.

The rise in testing might also be catching more coronavirus cases. The rate of people testing positive has ticked up from 1.6 percent on Sept. 28 to 1.9 percent as of Thursday.

The greater Washington region reported 1,396 additional coronavirus cases and seven new deaths Monday. Virginia added 854 cases and three deaths, Maryland added 504 cases and four deaths, and D.C. added 38 cases and no deaths.

While the number of fatalities reported Monday was well below the region’s seven-day average of 19 deaths, it lifted the total number of deaths in D.C., Maryland and Virginia since the start of the pandemic to more than 8,000.

The rolling seven-day average of new daily infections across the region Monday stood at 1,651 cases — the highest since Sept. 18.

While caseloads have ticked upward, D.C. on Tuesday will begin to reopen a slate of gyms and indoor swimming pools at city-owned recreation centers. Residents must book 45-minute appointments up to seven days in advance to ensure