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White House’s line on economic aid descends deeper into incoherence

White House’s line on economic aid descends deeper into incoherence

It was six days ago when Donald Trump, after weeks of confusing and contradictory messages, announced that he was pulling the plug on bipartisan talks on an economic aid package. White House officials said the process was over and negotiations would not begin anew before the elections.

It was four days ago when the president, realizing he’d “messed up tactically,” began calling for renewed talks on economic aid.

And it was three days ago when Trump told Rush Limbaugh that his newest position was the opposite of the one he’d held earlier in the week.

“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than, frankly, either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering,” Trump said on an appearance of the Rush Limbaugh Show on Friday, acknowledging it was “the exact opposite” of his initial demands.

I realize that the president doesn’t generally keep up on current events, but when he mentioned the package “Republicans are offering,” he was referring to the proposal floated by his own White House. It’s his own team that’s responsible for making the “offer,” which in turn created an awkward dynamic: Trump effectively told Limbaugh that he’s against Team Trump’s plan.

While the president was delivering that message, his team was extending a new pitch to congressional Democrats: a $1.8 trillion aid package, well below the $2.4 trillion package House Democrats recently approved, and roughly half the $3.4 trillion proposal Democrats pushed several months ago.

Trump told Fox News yesterday that GOP lawmakers are fully on board with the $1.8 trillion offer. That wasn’t even close to being true: Senate Republicans actually wasted little time letting the White House know they’re staunchly opposed to the latest proposal, as are House Democrats. In fact, if Trump’s comments to Limbaugh were sincere, even he’s against his own

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Senate Republicans will ‘go along with’ White House stimulus proposal despite their pushback

Senate Republicans will ‘go along with’ White House stimulus proposal despite their pushback

President Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Sunday that Senate Republicans will “go along with” the $1.8 trillion White House stimulus proposal despite their vocal pushback.



Lawrence Kudlow wearing a suit and tie: Trump economic adviser: Senate Republicans will 'go along with' White House stimulus proposal despite their pushback


© Aaron Schwartz
Trump economic adviser: Senate Republicans will ‘go along with’ White House stimulus proposal despite their pushback

Kudlow told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the White House expects GOP support from Republicans in the upper chamber. A source told The Hill on Saturday that several senators expressed “significant concerns” about the proposal’s cost in a call with administration officials.

The White House economic adviser said on Sunday he does not think the coronavirus stimulus bill is “dead.”

“Don’t forget, Republicans in the Senate put up their own bill a few weeks ago and got 53 votes, I think it was, so they united,” he said. “I think if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it.”

Kudlow also criticized Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for their “intransigence” over funding unemployment assistance, small business loans and stimulus checks in individual bills or an overall bill.

“Well, I’m not talking about your Democratic friends,” CNN host Jake Tapper pushed back. “I’m talking about 20 Senate Republicans who were mad at Secretary Mnuchin and saying that the proposal of $1.8 trillion was way too much.”

The White House economic adviser noted the president would “go beyond” the cost of the current proposal to fund assistance for unemployed people, small business loans and stimulus checks.

“I think if we could get this thing settled on the Democrat side, we will get it settled on the Republican side,” he said. “There will still be further efforts of negotiation perhaps today but certainly this coming week.”

“The D’s are holding this thing up,” he added.

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White House Floats $1.8 Trillion Stimulus Offer in Last-Ditch Effort: Live Updates

White House Floats $1.8 Trillion Stimulus Offer in Last-Ditch Effort: Live Updates

Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

The White House, seeking to revive stimulus talks that President Trump called off just days ago, planned on Friday to put forward its largest offer for economic relief yet, as some Republicans worried about being blamed by voters for failing to deliver needed aid ahead of the election.

The new proposal, for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to present to congressional Democrats, would increase the White House’s plan for coronavirus stimulus to $1.8 trillion.

The president “would like to do a deal,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said on the Fox Business Network on Friday, in the latest head-snapping turn in the on-again-off-again negotiations. The overall price tag of the offer was confirmed by two people familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose details of the talks.

Fanning the sense of optimism, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter: “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”

The prospects of a compromise remained remote, however, given the opposition of many Republicans to another large infusion of federal virus aid. Speaking to reporters in Kentucky, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, cast doubt on the chances of a deal, saying political divisions remained too deep less than a month before Election Day.

“The situation is kind of murky and I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage,” Mr. McConnell said. “I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”

Yet the White House was working

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Trump prepares roughly $1.8 trillion economic relief offer to Pelosi as White House scraps scaled back approach

Trump prepares roughly $1.8 trillion economic relief offer to Pelosi as White House scraps scaled back approach

One of Trump’s top economic advisers, Larry Kudlow, said on Fox Business Network that Trump had just approved a new package, and that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be speaking with Pelosi “hopefully to put the final touches on this.”

“The gap is narrowing. The bid and the offer, if you will, has narrowed significantly,” Kudlow said. “And, therefore, in Wall Street terms, there may be a trade for some additional assistance for the American recovery from this pandemic contraction.”

A person familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations, said Trump had signed off on a counter-offer to Pelosi with a pricetag around $1.8 trillion. Aside from the dollar figure, it was not immediately clear what had changed from the White House’s most recent offer of around $1.6 trillion, which Pelosi dismissed as too meager. Democrats have demanded hundreds of billions of dollars in new aid for states and cities, something Trump has long opposed.

The stock market moved slightly higher on reports of the new Trump offer, as some investors were hopeful that a new spending deal could be reached.

It was unclear if Pelosi would accept the new Trump offer. Pelosi had been pushing legislation around $2.2 trillion in the talks with Mnuchin before Trump abruptly pulled the plug on negotiations Tuesday — only to reverse course after the stock market sunk and some in his own party objected.

“Because it is so necessary to meet the needs of the American people I do hope that we will have an agreement soon,” Pelosi said on MSNBC Friday. She confirmed she would be speaking with Mnuchin later in the day.

As the coronavirus pandemic intensified in March and April, Congress approved $3 trillion in new spending to try and arrest some of

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Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn't visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent


© Getty Images
Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent

Regeneron filed for emergency authorization of its antibody COVID-19 treatment drug, just hours after President Trump claimed it basically cured him. Mitch McConnell hasn’t been to the White House in months, and a new analysis shows Americans’ job-based health care is continually getting more expensive.

We’ll start with Regeneron:

Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received

Biotech company Regeneron late Wednesday applied for emergency authorization for an experimental antibody treatment praised by President Trump.

“Subsequent to our discussions with regulatory authorities, we have submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for our REGN-COV2 investigational antibody combination for COVID-19,” the company said in a news release.

The move came just hours after the president praised the efficacy of the treatment in a short video message posted on Twitter.

“They gave me Regeneron, it’s called Regeneron,” Trump said in the five-minute video Wednesday afternoon. “It was unbelievable. I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”

Why it matters: Trump was taking several drugs for his illness, so it’s not clear which helped him feel better. He claimed he has the “emergency use authorization all set,” but the FDA is supposed to make decisions based on science and not demands from the president. Regeneron’s drug is still undergoing clinical trials, and while early results seem promising, the company has not released data to back up its claims.

Read more here.

McConnell says he hasn’t visited White

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