President Trump has signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill.
In an Oval Office ceremony Friday, the president thanked Republicans and Democrats "for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first" to pass the legislation. Trump was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. No Democrats were present at the signing.
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."
A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.
After a tense day on the Senate floor that included leaders trading barbs over who is to blame for failing to advance a new coronavirus response bill, the top Senate Democrat said late Monday night that he was "very, very close" to an agreement with the White House on a deal for a third wave of emergency funding that could go well past $1 trillion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced legislation on Thursday to address the economic impact of the coronavirus. This is the third legislative package to deal with the outbreak.
The proposal was drafted by Senate Republicans and the Trump administration. The bill still needs to be negotiated with Senate Democrats, which McConnell said would happen Friday. Already some Democrats were criticizing the plan as too focused on help for corporations and were calling for major changes.
The Trump administration is asking Congress for roughly $1 trillion in new economic relief as lawmakers begin work on the next phase of coronavirus relief efforts.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that he worked with the president on the economic package. Their discussions included payments to small businesses, loan guarantees for industries like airlines and hotels, and a stimulus package for workers.
The Senate reconvened Monday afternoon with a growing sense of urgency to act on pending legislation, and a growing realization that Congress will have to take dramatic, ongoing action to blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to the nation.
"The Senate is committed to meeting these uncertain times with bold and bipartisan solutions," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the floor Monday. "It's what we're going to keep doing in the days and weeks ahead."
In front of the cameras Tuesday night, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg sounded upbeat.
"No matter how many delegates we win tonight, we have done something no one thought was possible," he told cheering supporters gathered at the convention center in West Palm Beach, Fla. "In just three months, we've gone from 1% in the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president."
Behind the scenes, his campaign is assessing how much longer he will stay in the race after he failed to win any of the 14 Super Tuesday states.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn offered an emotional presidential endorsement of Joe Biden on Wednesday, just three days ahead of South Carolina's Democratic primary — a contest that could be make-or-break for the former vice president's campaign.
"I've known for a long time who I was going to vote for. I'm voting for Joe Biden. South Carolinians should be voting for Joe Biden," Clyburn said at an event in North Charleston.
President Trump took full advantage of the large television audience for his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to make his case for reelection in November, touting the strong economy and delighting Republicans in the room with a series of made-for-TV moments.
The House will vote to send two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate Wednesday, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a trial to determine whether to remove the president from office will probably begin next Tuesday.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will also name impeachment managers to lead the prosecution against the president Wednesday but did not say who they would be. "The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial," Pelosi said.
President Trump's former attorney general and long-time Alabama Republican senator is expected to announce he is once again running for the seat he held for 20 years, according to two GOP sources. Sessions is facing a Friday filing deadline to declare his candidacy.
One source said Sessions was running without the coordination or support of the GOP establishment, including the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, or the Senate GOP campaign operation. "He is definitely acting alone," the source said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is considering changing the lineup of the House Intelligence Committee to include some of President Trump's most vocal defenders in Congress.
"If Democrats are going to turn Intel into the impeachment committee, I am going to make adjustments to that committee accordingly, for a short period of time," McCarthy told Politico on Tuesday. A spokesman for McCarthy confirmed his comments to NPR.
The House of Representatives approved two measures pushing back at Turkey, a sign of significant bipartisan ire at a longstanding NATO ally following the country's offensive into northeastern Syria.
The first measure was a symbolic resolution labeling the deaths of roughly 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923 in the Ottoman Empire, which is now modern-day Turkey, as a "genocide." It passed 405-11, with 3 members voting present.
Over a six-month period in 2017 and 2018, nine lawmakers — eight men and one woman — were forced out of office, either by resignation or by early retirement, over varying degrees of allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior or tolerance of such behavior.
At the height of the #MeToo era, then-Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., directed lawmakers to come up with a new set of rules intended to change the culture of Capitol Hill.
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NOEL KING, HOST:
Congressman Elijah Cummings has died at the age of 68 years old. A Democrat, he was widely admired as a principled leader both on Capitol Hill and in his hometown of Baltimore. Here he is talking at Morgan State University's commencement back in May.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that there's no timeline for the House to wrap up its ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Trump, pushing back on predictions it could happen by the Thanksgiving holiday.