U.S. House not returning next week, Trump says Democrats on 'vacation'
By Susan Cornwell and David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives will not return to Washington next week as planned, due to the continuing risk of coronavirus infection, Democratic leaders said on Tuesday, a reversal of plans outlined only a day earlier
By Susan Cornwell and David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives will not return to Washington next week as planned, due to the continuing risk of coronavirus infection, Democratic leaders said on Tuesday, a reversal of plans outlined only a day earlier.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the decision to keep the chamber on an extended recess after discussing the situation with the official House physician, as well as House members.
"The numbers (of coronavirus cases) in the District of Columbia are still going up," Hoyer told reporters. "The House physician's view was that there was a risk to members that was one he would not recommend taking."
With the Republican-run Senate returning to session next week, President Donald Trump, a Republican, accused the Democrat-led House of not wanting to work. "They're enjoying their vacation," he told reporters at the White House. "You look at Nancy Pelosi eating ice cream on late-night television."
Pelosi, who showed off a home freezer full of ice cream in a recent television interview, retorted that Trump had been in denial about the danger posed by the coronavirus.
"This president has presided over the worst disaster in our country's history, an assault on the lives and the livelihoods of the American people, and he did so by neglect of information, also denial and delay in accepting the facts," Pelosi told MSNBC.
"I have ice cream in my freezer; I guess that's better than having Lysol in somebody's lungs," she said, referring to a suggestion Trump made last week that coronavirus researchers try putting disinfectants into patients’ bodies.
The U.S. death toll from the virus on Tuesday reached 58,233, exceeding the 58,220 American lives lost during the Vietnam War, according to a Reuters tally.
Congress has not met in regular session since last month, though it has passed major coronavirus relief bills worth nearly $3 trillion, partly by using rules allowing bills to pass with just a small number of lawmakers present. Last week the full House met one day to approve the most recent, $484 billion coronavirus package.
Hoyer said the House intends to return to Washington soon to complete a new coronavirus response bill that Democrats have vowed to use as a vehicle for funneling hundreds of billions of dollars in assistance to state and local governments. He said he hoped House committees would be able to work remotely while the chamber is out.
In a separate call with reporters, Pelosi said it appeared $500 billion would be needed for states, and possibly "a very big figure also for counties and municipalities” as they grapple with the coronavirus. Lawmakers have already provided $150 billion to state and local governments in previous coronavirus legislation.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer warned that state and local governments would see "massive" layoffs without more aid from Congress to keep police, firefighters, ambulance crews and other frontline workers on the job.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News on Tuesday he was open to providing further aid to cities and states, but that any legislation would need to provide liability protections for businesses that are reopening.
McConnell also told Republican senators on Tuesday that he will not support spending on infrastructure in the next coronavirus relief bill, Axios reported. Trump has called for $2 trillion in infrastructure spending.
(Reporting by David Morgan, Susan Cornwell and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Jonathan Oatis, Richard Chang and Dan Grebler)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.