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Trump calls off virus relief talks until after election; Fed chair earlier called for aggressive stimulus
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Trump calls off virus relief talks until after election; Fed chair earlier called for aggressive stimulus

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has instructed aides to stop negotiating on another round of COVID-19 relief until after the election.

Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith" and said he's asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business," Trump tweeted.

Last week, the White House said it was backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and dangled the possibility of a COVID-19 relief bill of $1.6 trillion. But that offer was rejected by Pelosi.

Pelosi said Trump is "putting himself first at the expense of the country” by halting negotiations and that Trump “showed his true colors” in stopping the talks between congressional leaders and the White House that have been aimed at bringing some $2 trillion in new aid to fight the coronavirus.

The Democratic leader says by “walking away,” Trump is “unwilling to crush the virus” and is “abandoning the needs of children and other Americans.”

Trump announced the move less than 24 hours after he returned to the White House from a three-day hospital stay while fighting his own bout with the coronavirus.

Pelosi says the White House is clearly in “disarray.”

Trump broke off talks after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned earlier Tuesday that the economic recovery remains fragile seven months into coronavirus pandemic without further economic stimulus.

Stocks dropped suddenly on Wall Street after Trump ordered a stop to negotiations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung instantly from a gain of about 200 points to a loss of about 300 points.

Powell, in remarks before the National Association for Business Economics, made clear that too little support “would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.”

Powell noted that the economic recovery has slowed in recent months compared with its rapid improvement in May and June. Incomes fell in August. And job growth weakened in September, slowing to just 661,000, less than half the gains of 1.5 million in August and 1.8 million in July. The economy has recovered only slightly more than half the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April.

“A prolonged slowing in the pace of improvement over time could trigger typical recessionary dynamics, as weakness feeds on weakness,” he said.

During a question-and-answer session with economists, Powell noted that the pandemic recession has disproportionately harmed in-person service industries, especially restaurants, bars, hotels, travel companies, movie theaters and other entertainment venues. The heavy damage to those industries has left millions of people unemployed, likely for an extended period, until they are either finally recalled to their previous jobs or switch to new careers.

“The right thing to do and the smart thing to do in the long run is to support those people as they return to their old jobs or find new jobs,” the chairman said.

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