McConnell Mitch

Mitch McConnell says Senate will vote on coronavirus stimulus plan as soon as this week – CNBC

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Cwalks pass the Ohio Clock Corridor on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, Aug. 10, 2020.

Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

The Senate will vote on a coronavirus stimulus bill as early as this week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Kentucky Republican said the chamber aims to take up what he called a “targeted proposal, focused on some of the very most urgent healthcare, education, and economic issues.” He did not specify what the legislation would include. 

CNBC previously reported that the GOP was considering a roughly $500 billion proposal to address enhanced unemployment insurance, new small business loans, school funding, and money for Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. It is unclear how much the package will resemble the plan that was developing late last month. 

The bill likely will not garner the 60 votes needed to get through the Senate or receive support in the Democratic-held House. In a joint statement Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said “Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere.” 

“Democrats want to work on bipartisan legislation that will meet the urgent needs of the American people but Republicans continue to move in the wrong direction,” they added later in the statement.

Democrats and the Trump administration have failed to break an impasse over coronavirus relief since talks between the sides collapsed late last month. Democratic leaders have pushed for the White House to offer at least $2.2 trillion in federal funding to boost the U.S. economy and health-care system during the pandemic. Republicans so far have not agreed to go higher than $1.3 trillion. 

Congress has failed to pass a fifth coronavirus aid package even after a $600 per week extra jobless benefit, a federal moratorium on evictions and the window to apply for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans lapsed. The expiration of those lifelines has left millions made jobless by the virus struggling to cover costs, even as the overall labor market rebounds. 

Last month, Republicans considered reinstating the extra unemployment insurance at a reduced $300 to $400 per week as part of their proposal, CNBC reported. Pelosi and Schumer criticized the legislation in particular because reports said it did not include relief for state and local governments, money for rental and mortgage assistance, emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service or additional food aid. 

Democrats have pushed for more than $900 billion in new aid for states and municipalities, some of which will have to cut services if they receive no more assistance. The White House, which charges that cities and states run by Democrats want funds to cover for financial mismanagement before the pandemic, has offered no more than $150 billion in new money. 

The bipartisan National Governors Association has asked for at least $500 billion in relief. 

Senate Republicans released their first pass at a fifth coronavirus relief package in late July. The bill, valued at roughly $1 trillion, countered the more than $3 trillion House Democratic legislation passed in May. It kick-started the stimulus negotiations, which have since made little progress. 

While most GOP senators now acknowledge the need for another relief bill, some have argued against spending any more federal money at all to combat the pandemic. 

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McConnell Mitch

Mitch McConnell: Obama ‘should have kept his mouth shut’ instead of criticizing US coronavirus response – CNN

(CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday slammed former President Barack Obama for criticizing the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic during a private call last week, asserting that he “should have kept his mouth shut.”

“I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you,” McConnell told President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, during a Trump campaign live stream. “You had your shot, you were there for eight years. I think the tradition that the Bush’s set up — of not critiquing the president who comes after you — is a good tradition.”
His comments come after Obama described the Trump administration’s coronavirus response “an absolute chaotic disaster” during a private call on Friday with people who worked for him in the White House. The critique marked a rare break in custom for Obama who has occasionally criticized Trump — such as when he ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program and in the wake of the President’s first travel ban executive order.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has had a years-long fixation with Obama that predates his presidential campaign and has repeatedly disparaged his predecessor with unfounded conspiracy theories.
Earlier Monday, the President was asked about one of his Mother’s Day tweets where he seemingly accused Obama of some kind of conspiracy against his administration.
“Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time,” he claimed at the White House, without offering specifics or evidence. “It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened.”
Speaking specifically about US response to the coronavirus outbreak, Obama said in his call with members of the Obama Alumni Association that the current administration’s actions serve as a critical reminder for why strong government leadership is needed during a global crisis.
The call was intended to encourage former Obama staffers to become more engaged in Biden’s presidential campaign.
“It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” Obama said.
“It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset — of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ — when that mindset is operationalized in our government.”
After formally endorsing his former vice president, Joe Biden, last month, Obama said he would be deeply involved in the campaign to help Biden win the White House.

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Bears Mitch

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky could end up like Kyle Fuller — or Kevin White – Chicago Sun-Times

Mitch Trubisky can be Kevin White or Kyle Fuller.

Now that the Bears have done the expected and declined his fifth-year option for 2021, the 2017 No. 2 overall pick is on the clock.

He has a year to fight for his place with the organization.

That begins with winning the starting job. The Bears say he’ll take the first snap of the first practice — whenever that may be — but their offseason moves showed how little faith they have in him. They traded a fourth-round pick for Nick Foles, giving him at least $21 million over three years, because they think he’ll be needed.

Whether Trubisky wins the job will chart his course toward White or Fuller.

The Bears’ declining of White’s fifth-year option two years ago was their most obvious move of the decade. In three years, the No. 7 pick of the 2015 draft had only 21 catches for 193 yards.

The Bears signed Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel in March 2018. A month later, they traded up to draft Anthony Miller in the second round. They didn’t need White anymore and weren’t going to count on him to produce. White was a healthy scratch in seven games in 2018. He caught four balls for 92 yards — but one was a 54-yard Hail Mary that fell a yard short of the goal line against the Patriots. He left after the 2018 season and hasn’t played a regular-season snap since.

Three years ago, general manager Ryan Pace decided to decline Fuller’s fifth-year option. Former GM Phil Emery’s last first-round pick had missed all of the previous season after having arthroscopic knee surgery in August. Pace signed veteran Marcus Cooper to a three-year, $16 million deal, not willing to rely on Fuller to take the next step.

Fuller began 2017 as the starter because of Prince Amukamara’s injury, then started for Cooper when he hurt his back before Week 5. Fuller never looked back.

“He has helped resurrect his career,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said then.

Fuller was so valuable by the end of 2017 that the Bears issued him the transition tag, which would have paid him $12.97 million in 2018. He wound up making even more when the Packers signed him to a four-year, $56 million offer that the Bears quickly matched.

If Trubisky plays as well in 2020 as Fuller did in 2017, the Bears could use a similar mechanism to keep him in place. The 2021 franchise tag will cost at least $3 million more than the $24.8 million the Bears would have otherwise owed Trubisky — but the team would likely be thrilled to pay it. Presuming, of course, that the Bears don’t need to use it on Robinson, whose contract extension has yet to materialize this offseason.

Only one top-five pick from 2017 — No. 1 overall selection Myles Garrett — had his option picked up. But Trubisky is the only one in the group compared to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Texans’ Deshaun Watson, who will soon negotiate contracts to override their fifth-year options. Still, a world exists — if the Bears have the appetite to run the ball and tight ends to catch it — in which Trubisky could be a competent starter.

In that sense, he’s probably closer to ex-Bear Leonard Floyd, a 2016 first-round pick, than White or Fuller. Trubisky and Floyd have otherworldly athleticism for their positions, but it hasn’t translated on Sundays.

The Bears picked up Floyd’s option last year but cut him before he could play his fifth season after watching him get only three sacks.

The Bears decided Floyd simply wasn’t good enough.

Trubisky’s bosses have pointed him down the same path. He has a year to change their minds.

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