Next U.S. coronavirus rescue package not too far off -McConnell


President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell huddled Thursday at the White House as Republicans stake out new plans to phase out coronavirus-related unemployment benefits to encourage Americans to go back to work.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said last summer Ratcliffe had been selected because he had shown "blind loyalty" to Trump. Senators are prepared to leave town for a weeklong Memorial Day break without having acted on any new relief. Cory Gardner of Colorado, was trying to prevent the Senate from recessing unless it considered more aid.

The flurry of activity comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed a new $3 trillion aid package through the House last week.

Ratcliffe, 54, was nominated again by Trump in February to be the nation's spy chief, several months after the Texas Republican's first nomination was withdrawn amid bipartisan concerns about his qualification. "Crazy. It's just so wrong".

McConnell argued that his side of the Capitol led passage of an earlier package that cost $2 trillion.

On Thursday, McConnell mocked the House for working remotely and voting by proxy while senators in masks show up like other Americans returning to work. He derided as constitutionally unsound a historic House rules change that allows representatives to vote by proxy rather than risk traveling to Washington.

Trump picked Ratcliffe as new chief of national intelligence on July 28, 2019, four days after Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee, when the Republican fiercely questioned the former special counsel over his two-year investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and Trump's possible obstruction of justice. The District of Columbia remains under stay-home orders through June 8. "John Ratcliffe will lead the Intelligence Community in countering threats from great powers, rogue nations, and terrorists - and ensuring that work is untainted by political bias", McConnell said. "He has the zeroes bill".

In his former role in the House of Representatives, Ratcliffe defended the president and pushed back during a hearing with Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the intelligence community's investigation into the Trump campaign's connections with Russian Federation in 2016.

The Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday voted to issue a subpoena for its investigation into presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's son Hunter, though there's no evidence of wrongdoing by either of the Bidens.

Last week, for instance, Senate Republicans released a newly declassified list of former intelligence officials who requested the identity of an American from intelligence reports who turned out to be former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"No lawyer for Flynn has ever seen it or heard the recording", Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell, said in an email to The Associated Press. The president promoted his own poll numbers and implored his allies to "be tough" as they fight for their jobs this fall. Democrats are seeking to gain the majority and flip control.

Zandi said "Job No. 1" for Congress was sending money "quickly" to state and local governments are "teetering" on the financial edge, according to a Democrat who was not authorized to discuss the private call and spoke on condition of anonymity. But Democrats have been sceptical that he will serve with the independence they say is crucial for the job.

Some states that have been hardest hit by the domestic outbreak, including NY and New Jersey, have said they will need federal assistance in order to recover.



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