Negotiators discuss $800 billion U.S. stimulus deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers worked late into the night on Tuesday haggling over a final package of tax cuts and spending initiatives, as talks centered on an $800 billion package to fight the deepening recession.

"We're not there, but we've made a significant amount of progress the last 10 hours," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters after he wrapped up Tuesday's final negotiating session.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he hoped an agreement could be reached on Wednesday, but declined to detail the progress made.

Earlier, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said during a pause in late-night meetings that "$800 billion is a figure that has been mentioned" by senators as a final price tag for the bill.

The negotiations in the Capitol, with White House officials attending, began shortly after the Senate passed its $838 billion version of a rescue plan to fight a year-old recession that brings mounting job losses nationwide.

The House of Representatives has approved about $820 billion in spending and tax cuts. The negotiations, by a small group of lawmakers from the Senate and House, are aimed at reconciling the two versions.

President Barack Obama wants the Democratic-controlled Congress to deliver a package by this weekend so he can sign it into law. But he must keep together a narrow coalition that wants the price tag lowered to about $800 billion.

The Senate voted 61-37 on Tuesday to approve its version, with support from just three Republicans, while the House had last month passed its package with no Republican support.

Obama met Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, at the White House earlier on Tuesday to discuss moving ahead and later the new president, on a visit to Florida to build support, called the Senate vote "good news."

On its own, the stimulus package is unlikely to fix the struggling economy because it does not address financial sector problems. As long as banks face losses and struggle to raise money, lending will be limited and so will economic growth.

The Obama administration is trying to address this problem on a separate track through a bank rescue program unveiled by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday.

WALL STREET UNIMPRESSED

But Wall Street reacted skeptically. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 382 points or 4.62 percent as traders cited fears that the new plan would not go far enough to resolve the financial crisis.

The House and Senate approved different mixes of income tax credits and tax incentives to rejuvenate the shattered housing market, as well as tens of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects, healthcare and education.

To win the votes in the Senate needed to pass the stimulus bill, senators cut from its package tens of billions of dollars including $16 billion for school construction and $40 billion in direct aid to states facing growing budget gaps.

Those changes lured three Republicans who were needed to advance the bill in the Senate, where Democrats have only 58 of the 60 votes needed to clear potential procedural hurdles.

But in a sign of tough negotiations ahead, Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who helped broker the initial compromise, said she could not again vote for the measure if it stayed at the current size.

"I'm not saying what's in, what's out. I'm just saying the bottom line must be under $800 billion," she told reporters after the Senate vote.

But Obama has already said he wants some education funds restored to the package and other Democrats have said they believe it should have more spending included.

"There will be an effort to make some changes in the education sectors," said Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat. But he cautioned that Republicans were dead-set against federal money to build schools.

REPUBLICAN HELP NEEDED

He said that negotiators will need the approval of any new details by the three Republican senators who voted for the Senate bill: Collins, Olympia Snowe, also of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, said provisions to offer $50 billion in tax breaks for buying a home or a new car would probably stay in but be modified.

"The main thing is the final conference report is going to be very similar to the Senate bill because that's where the votes are," he said.

Republicans have demanded the focus should be more on tax cuts than spending that they say will not boost the economy.

"It's entirely too large, entirely too untargeted and, more than anything else, it's not timely," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Obama has rejected the Republican push for more tax cuts, arguing such policies under former Republican President George W. Bush contributed to the current crisis.

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Shortly after appearing on "The Glenn Beck Radio Program" last Thursday, Los Angeles-based emergency medicine specialist Dr. Simone Gold got a call saying she was fired for speaking out about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in a now-banned viral video.

Dr. Gold returned to the radio program Monday to detail exactly what happened, the reason the hospitals gave for her firing, and how they threatened to fire her colleagues as well if she "didn't go quietly."

"Most emergency physicians work at more than one [hospital], as I do, and I've actually been fired from both," she told Glenn. "They told me that I appeared in an embarrassing video, and therefore, I would no longer be welcome to work there ... then they said, if I didn't go quietly and I made a fuss, they would have all the doctors in the group, you know, they'd have to go and they'll get a whole new doctor group."

Dr. Gold said she does not regret speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during the controversial "White Coat Summit" news conference held in Washington, D.C., last week. A video of the news conference quickly went viral on social media before being removed by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others for allegedly making false claims related to COVID-19.

"Bring it on," she said. "I want to continue to live in America. I want my children to continue to live in America. I don't want them to grow up in a place like China. When you get to a point where, not only can I not speak as a scientist, as a doctor, for what I know to be absolutely true, but you then want to cancel me and my colleagues, this is not okay. I would much rather fight than not fight ... and I want everybody to know that there are literally millions and millions of Americans who are on our side. Millions. I believe it's the majority."

Glenn then asked Dr. Gold to weigh in on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidelines encouraging schools to reopen in the fall and the left's relentless drive to keep them closed.

"There's no actual scientific debate whatsoever if schools should open. None. There's no scientific debate. There's no serious person who thinks schools shouldn't open. Now, [through] some governors and policy makers, there's pressure being brought to bear on school districts, but there's no actual scientific debate. So it's going to come down to parents pressuring their local school districts to act in a responsible fashion."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


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Fox News host Greg Gutfeld joined Glenn on "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week to talk about his new book, "The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help."

Greg admits he is probably the last person who should write a self-help book. Nevertheless, he offers his offbeat advice on how to save America during what has become one of the most tumultuous times in history, as well as drinking while tweeting (spoiler: don't do it).

He also shares his "evolution" on President Donald Trump, his prediction for the election, and what it means to be an agnostic-atheist.

In this clip, Greg shares what he calls his "first great epiphany" on how dangerous cancel culture has become.

"I believe that cancel culture is the first successful work-around of the First Amendment," he said. "Because freedom of speech doesn't protect me from my career being ruined, my livelihood being destroyed, or me getting so depressed I commit suicide. Cancel culture is the first successful work-around of freedom of speech. It can oppress your speech with the scepter of destruction. We don't have freedom of speech anymore."

Watch the video clip below or find the full Glenn Beck Podcast with Greg Gutfeld here.

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Use code UNMASKED to save $20 on one year of BlazeTV.

Dr. Simone Gold joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to set the record straight about hydroxychloroquine -- what it is, how it works, and the real reason for all the current controversy surrounding a centuries-old medication.

Dr. Gold is a board certified emergency physician. She graduated from Chicago Medical School before attending Stanford University Law School. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, and worked in Washington D.C. for the Surgeon General, as well for the chairman of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources. She works as an emergency physician on the front lines, whether or not there is a pandemic, and her clinical work serves all Americans from urban inner city to suburban and the Native American population. Her legal practice focuses on policy issues relating to law and medicine.

She is also the founder of America's frontline doctors, a group of doctors who have been under attack this week for speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during a news conference held outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

On the program, Dr. Gold emphasized that the controversy over hydroxychloroquine is a "complete myth."

"Hydroxychloroquine is an analogue or a derivative of quinine, which is found in tree bark. It's the most noncontroversial of medications that there is," she explained.

"It's been around for centuries and it's been FDA-approved in the modern version, called hydroxychloroquine, for 65 years. In all of that time, [doctors] used it for breast-feeding women, pregnant women, elderly, children, and immune compromised. The typical use is for years or even decades because we give it mostly to RA, rheumatoid arthritis patients and lupus patients who need to be on it, essentially, all of their life. So, we have extensive experience with it ... it's one of the most commonly used medications throughout the world."

Dr. Gold told Glenn she was surprised when the media suddenly "vomited all over hydroxychloroquine", but initially chalked it up to the left's predictable hatred for anything President Donald Trump endorses. However, when the media gave the drug Remdesivir glowing reviews, despite disappointing clinical trial results, she decided to do some research.

"[Remdesivir] certainly wasn't a fabulous drug, but the media coverage was all about how fabulous it was. At that moment, I thought that was really weird. Because it's one thing to hate hydroxychloroquine because the president [endorsed] it. But it's another thing to give a free pass to another medicine that doesn't seem that great. I thought that was really weird, so I started looking into it. And let me tell you, what I discovered was absolutely shocking," she said.

Watch the video below for more details:


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According to the mainstream media's COVID-19 narrative, the president is "ignoring" the crisis.

On tonight's "Glenn TV" special, Glenn Beck exposes the media's last four months of political theater that has helped shape America's confusion and fear over coronavirus. And now, with a new school year looming on the horizon, the ongoing hysteria has enormous ramifications for our children, but the media is working overtime to paint the Trump administration as anti-science Neanderthals who want to send children and teachers off to die by reopening schools.

Glenn fights back with the facts and interviews the medical doctor Big Tech fears the most. Dr. Simone Gold, founder of America's Frontline Doctors, stands up to the media's smear campaign and explains why she could no longer stay silent in her fight against coronavirus fear.

Watch a preview below:


In order to watch tonight's episode, you must be a BlazeTV subscriber. Join today to get a 30-day free trial, and get $20 off a one-year subscription with code UNMASKED.

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