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Washington

GOP: ‘Bloated’ $3T coronavirus package will be DOA in Senate

By Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have powered a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the House, an election-year measure designed to brace a U.S. economy in free fall and a health care system struggling to contain a pandemic still pummeling the country.  Friday's 208-199 vote, with all but one Republican opposed, advances what boils down to a campaign-season display of Democratic economic and health-care priorities. It has no…

Trump: Trials show coronavirus vaccine on track for end of 2020

Staff Report THE WHITE HOUSE - President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s hopeful to have a coronavirus vaccine on the market by the end of the year or shortly thereafter. Moncep Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive who Trump has tapped to serve as the administration’s virus czar, said that early trial data suggests that “a few hundred million doses of vaccine” will be delivered by late 2020. Trump, speaking at a Rose Garden event, reiterated that he wants to see states move…

Lindsey Graham vows to find out how Russia probe ‘got so off the rails’ but won’t call Obama to testify

By Matthew Daly Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Thursday his committee is opening a wide-ranging inquiry into the Russia investigation, but rejected President Donald Trump's call to bring in former President Barack Obama to testify. "I am greatly concerned about the precedent that would be set by calling a former president for oversight,'' said Graham, a South Carolina Republican and staunch Trump ally. "No president is above the…

Pelosi, Democrats tee up $3T state, essential workers stimulus package

By Lisa Macsaro and Andrew Taylor Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a more than $3 trillion coronavirus aid package Tuesday, providing nearly $1 trillion for states and cities, "hazard pay" for essential workers and a new round of cash payments to individuals. The House is expected to vote on the package as soon as Friday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said there is no "urgency." The Senate will wait until after Memorial Day to act.…

White House shelves CDC guide to restart economy

By Jason Dearen and Mike Strobbe Associated Press GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Trump administration has shelved a document created by the nation's top disease investigators with step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places during the still-raging coronavirus outbreak.  The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled "Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework," was researched…

Trump: Coronavirus task force not disbanding

By Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin and Darlene Superville Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — One day after saying that the White House COVID-19 task force would be winding down, President Donald Trump said Wednesday it would continue indefinitely but focus more on rebooting the economy. Trump's reversal comes as deaths and infection rates outside of New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus, are rising even as states move to lift their lockdowns. Trump tweeted that the special task force's…

Joe Biden on Tara Reade allegation: ‘This never happened’

By Alexandra Jaffe and Bill Barrow Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday categorically denied allegations from a former Senate staffer that he sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s, saying "this never happened." Biden's first public remarks on the allegation by a former employee, Tara Reade, come at a critical moment for the presumptive Democratic nominee as he tries to relieve mounting pressure after weeks of leaving denials to his…

William Barr warns against unconstitutional virus restrictions

By Michael  Balsamo Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr on Monday ordered federal prosecutors across the U.S. to identify coronavirus-related restrictions from state and local governments "that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens." The memo to U.S. attorneys directs the head of the Justice Department's civil rights division and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan to coordinate the…

White House aiming to turn president from COVID-19 to economy

By Zeke Miller Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — After two months of frantic response to the coronavirus, the White House is planning to shift President Donald Trump's public focus to the burgeoning efforts aimed at easing the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Days after he publicly mused that scientists should explore the injection of toxic disinfectants as a potential virus cure, Trump has now rejected the utility of his daily task force briefings, where he has time and…

Trump signs $484 billion hospital bill

By Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram and Kevin Freking Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion bill Friday to aid employers and hospitals under stress from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Americans and devastated broad swaths of the economy. The bill is the latest effort by the federal government to help keep afloat businesses that have had to close or dramatically alter their operations as states try to slow the spread of the…

Conservatives label US shutdowns anti-constitutional

By Nicholas K. Geranios Associated Press SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — In deeply conservative eastern Washington state, a prominent state lawmaker kicked out of his Republican Party caucus labels the coronavirus as a foreign bio-weapon, accuses Marxists of using the pandemic to advance totalitarianism and rails against lockdown restrictions imposed by the Democratic governor. A California teleconference last week to consider sport fishing limits in rural areas unprepared to handle influxes of…

Obama endorses Biden for president: ‘Joe has all the qualities we need’

By Alexandra Jaffe, Julie Pace and Bill Barrow Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden in a video on Tuesday, giving the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee a boost from the party's biggest fundraiser and one of its most popular figures. "I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now," Obama said in a nearly 12- minute video, touting him as a "close friend" and lauding him for his perseverance and compassion.…

Bernie Sanders throws support to Joe Biden in fight to beat Trump

By Bill Barrow and Alexandra Jaffe Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden's presidential campaign on Monday, encouraging his progressive supporters to rally behind the presumptive Democratic nominee in an urgent bid to defeat President Donald Trump. "I am asking all Americans, I'm asking every Democrat, I'm asking every independent, I'm asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse," the Vermont…

Trump: Not governors’ decision when to re-open states

By Darlene Superville and  Zeke Miller Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump asserted Monday that he is the ultimate decision-maker for determining how and when to relax the nation's social distancing guidelines  as he grows anxious to re-open the coronavirus-stricken country as soon as possible. Governors and local leaders, who have instituted mandatory restrictions that have the force of law, have expressed concern that Trump's plan to restore normalcy will cost…

Trump vs. Biden: General election battle all but set

By Steve Peoples AP National Political Writer The stage is set for November. Barring unforeseen disaster, Joe Biden will represent the Democratic Party against President Donald Trump this fall, the former vice president's place on the general election ballot cemented Wednesday by Bernie Sanders' decision to end his campaign. Biden likely won't secure the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination until June. But without any Democratic rivals left, a general election campaign…