Trump, McConnell huddle; virus aid talks at risk of collapse

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump huddled at the White House Thursday with the Senate’s top Republican over a vital COVID-19 rescue package, but hopes on Capitol Hill for a deal were souring and there was increasing worry that GOP negotiations with Democrats might collapse.

The impasse in the negotiations is putting at risk more than $100 billion to help reopen schools, a fresh round of $1,200 direct payments to most people, and hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments to help them avoid furloughing workers and cutting services as tax revenues shrivel.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a key player in the troubled talks and possesses far more experience than Trump’s administration negotiating team, which is publicly frustrated by the inflexible tactics of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The Democratic duo has not yielded much ground from an unprecedented $3.5 trillion House-passed rescue package.

McConnell seemed to downplay the significance of the Trump meeting, telling a reporter merely that “we talked a little bit about everything.”

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