President Donald Trump huddled at the White House Thursday with the Senate's top Republican over a vital COVID-19 rescue package, but hopes on Capitol Hill for a deal were souring and there was increasing worry that GOP negotiations with Democrats might collapse.
The impasse in the negotiations is putting at risk more than $100 billion to help reopen schools, a fresh round of $1,200 direct payments to most people, and hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments to help them avoid furloughing workers and cutting services as tax revenues shrivel.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a key player in the troubled talks and possesses far more experience than Trump's administration negotiating team, which is publicly frustrated by the inflexible tactics of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The Democratic duo has not yielded much ground from an unprecedented $3.5 trillion House-passed rescue package.
In other developments:
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, an early advocate among Republicans of wearing masks and other pandemic precautions, tested positive for the coronavirus just ahead of a planned meeting with President Donald Trump.
- Around the country, across industries and occupations, millions of Americans thrown out of work because of the coronavirus are straining to afford the basics now that an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits has expired.
- The Trump administration rescinded its warnings to Americans against all international travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, saying conditions no longer warrant a blanket worldwide alert. The State Department lifted its level-four health advisory for the entire world in order to return to country-specific warnings.
- New York City opened new traveler checkpoints Thursday to register visitors and residents returning from nearly three dozen states who are required to quarantine for 14 days — an initiative that drew swift criticism from privacy advocates.
- More than 2,000 unaccompanied children have been expelled since March under an emergency declaration enacted by the Trump administration, which has cited the coronavirus in refusing to provide them protections under federal anti-trafficking and asylum laws.
- Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 1 million, but global health experts tell The Associated Press the true toll is likely several times higher. That reflects the gaping lack of testing for the continent’s 1.3 billion people.