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McConnell, Pelosi: We 'Respectfully Decline' Offer From Trump

The Senate is returning to work Monday, while the House stays away
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2020 5:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Weighing the risks, the Senate will reopen on Monday as the coronavirus crisis rages and the House stays shuttered, an approach that leaves Congress as divided as the nation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to convene 100 senators at the Capitol during a pandemic gives President Trump the imagery he wants of America getting back to work, despite health worries and a lack of testing, the AP reports. Yet, the Washington region remains under stay-at-home orders as a virus hot spot. And in an extraordinary rebuff, McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Saturday that they would "respectfully decline" Trump's offer that Congress use the instant virus test system that screens visitors to the White House.

McConnell and Pelosi said such resources should be redirected to the front lines "where they can do the most good." But gathering senators for the first time since March risks lawmakers as well the cooks, cleaners, police officers, and other workers who keep the lights on at the Capitol complex. For Senate Republicans, returning to session is an attempt to set the terms of debate as Democrats push for another pricey coronavirus relief bill. Frustrated after Pelosi boosted Democratic priorities in earlier aid packages, an unprecedented $3 trillion in emergency spending, they are resisting more. Republicans are counting on the country's reopening and an economic rebound as their best hope to limit a new round of big spending on virus aid.

(Read more Capitol Hill stories.)

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