WASHINGTON, D.C. - Top Republicans in Congress were expecting to meet Monday with President Donald Trump on the next COVID-19 aid package as the administration panned more virus testing money and interjected other priorities that could complicate quick passage.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was prepared to roll out the $1 trillion package in a matter of days. But divisions between the Senate GOP majority and the White House posed fresh challenges. Congress was returning to session this week as the coronavirus crisis many had hoped would have improved by now only worsened - and just as earlier federal emergency unemployment relief was expiring.
Trump insisted again Sunday that the virus would "disappear," but the president's view did not at all match projections from the leading health professionals straining to halt the U.S.'s alarming caseloads and death toll.
McConnell and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy were set to meet with Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "to fine-tune" the legislation, acting chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Fox News.
The package from McConnell had been quietly crafted behind closed doors for weeks and was expected to include $75 billion to help schools reopen, reduced unemployment benefits alongside a fresh round of direct $1,200 cash payments to Americans, and a sweeping five-year liability shield against coronavirus lawsuits.