After months of fruitless negotiations to develop and pass a new COVID-19 stimulus bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly told the White House on Tuesday to give up until after the election. But the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members, is still trying to talk McConnell out of it.
The caucus' 18 Republican and 25 Democratic members declared in a Wednesday statement that "it is critical Congress act immediately to pass bipartisan relief legislation," as "time is running out for the American people." If talks stop until after the election, it could be February until they begin again, the caucus noted. So it's encouraging the Trump administration to include a national testing strategy in the next relief bill, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pushed for. And it wants McConnell to take a vote on the House and White House's proposal. Without these measures, families and businesses "will continue to suffer needlessly as a result of Congress failing to do its job," the caucus said.
NEW: The day after McConnell told his members that he urged the WH to wait until after the election to agree to a COVID bill, the Problem Solvers writes to Congressional leaders and Trump that waiting would be a "missed opportunity," noting the election could kill talks til Feb. pic.twitter.com/vyLdY6LrKI
President Trump has demanded that the U.S. finish its mission in Syria within six months, CNN reported Thursday. The request for a hasty retreat is apparently meant to achieve the "rapid end" to U.S. involvement in the country that the White House promised Wednesday.
There are roughly 2,000 troops in Syria, working to fight against the Islamic State, but the White House said yesterday that ISIS is "almost completely destroyed." Despite the protests of his national security team and top military officials, CNN reports, Trump said that the mission needs to be finished in six months so that troops can come home.
An anonymous administration official told CNN that Defense Secretary James Mattis tried to warn Trump that six months was simply too short a deadline, but Trump apparently told the group to "just get it done."
Advisers reportedly told Trump that leaving Syria so quickly would leave the region open to increased involvement from Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Trump was reportedly frustrated, and spent much of the meeting complaining about the cost of U.S. involvement in Syria without anything in return. Officials denied that a timeline for withdrawal was discussed, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Trump would not "put an arbitrary timeline" on winning the battle against ISIS. Read more at CNN. Summer Meza