On The Money: McConnell shoots down $1.8 trillion coronavirus deal, breaking with Trump | Pelosi cites progress on testing provisions | Jobless claims spike to 898K

On The Money: McConnell shoots down $1.8 trillion coronavirus deal, breaking with Trump | Pelosi cites progress on testing provisions | Jobless claims spike to 898K
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THE BIG DEAL—McConnell shoots down $1.8 trillion coronavirus deal, breaking with Trump: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday shot down the prospect of a coronavirus deal totaling between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion — the goalposts of the current talks between Democrats and the White House.

McConnell's comments to reporters in Kentucky underscore the divisions between President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE and Senate Republicans on a fifth coronavirus package, with the GOP leader preparing to force a vote on a $500 billion bill next week.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney has more here.

Trump vs. McConnell: Senate Republicans have struggled to get on the same page as the White House when it comes to the coronavirus negotiations.

  • GOP senators offered a $1.1 trillion coronavirus package in late July but McConnell warned at the time that up to 20 GOP senators could vote "no." 
  • They then unveiled a smaller bill in September that authorized about $500 billion that 52 of the 53 GOP senators supported.  

McConnell's comments come hours after Trump said Thursday that he was willing to go higher than $1.8 trillion, his administration’s current offer, in negotiations with Democrats.

“Absolutely, I would. I would pay more. I would go higher. Go big or go home, I said it yesterday. Go big or go home,” Trump said during a phone interview on Fox Business on Thursday morning.


Pelosi weighs in: Pelosi held another round of talks with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinPence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden Treasury imposes additional sanctions on Cuba over allegations of 'serious human rights abuse' Treasury Department sanctions inner circle of Russian agent Derkach for election interference MORE, the chief White House negotiator, according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill, citing progress toward agreeing to provisions on a national testing plan.

Hammill also said that Pelosi nudged Mnuchin to heed Trump’s call to go big and that Mnuchin assured her that “the President would weigh in with Leader McConnell should an agreement be reached.”

Read more: Trump 'ready to sign' stimulus


Jobless claims spike to 898,000 in latest sign of economic weakness: Initial jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 10 spiked to 898,000, the latest sign of weakness in the U.S. labor market.

The figure was up 53,000 from the previous week, and the number of claims has remained persistently high over the past few months.

  • Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed that the total number of people claiming benefits across a slew of programs in late September fell by 215,270, to 25.3 million.
  • The weak economic figures pose a challenge to President Trump in the final weeks of the campaign, particularly as many economists say they are the result of a pandemic that the U.S. has yet to get under control.
  • When factoring in an additional 373,000 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a CARES Act program that expanded benefits to gig economy workers and the self-employed, the total number of new claims approached 1.3 million.

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks it down here.

Justice Dept. charges Texas billionaire with biggest tax fraud case in US history: The Department of Justice has charged a Texas billionaire with the biggest tax fraud case in U.S. history, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Robert Brockman, 79, of Houston and Pitkin County, Colo., faces a 39-count indictment that was unsealed on Thursday and covers a 20-year period, including charges of money laundering, conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion. 

  • The CEO of Reynolds and Reynolds, an Ohio-based software company, is accused of hiding about $2 billion in income from the IRS in the tax-fraud scheme ranging from 1999 to 2019. He allegedly hid income from investments in private equity funds in offshore entities based in Bermuda and Nevis.
  • Officials also said Brockman sent untaxed capital gains income to secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland. The billionaire backdated records and communicated with a co-conspirator through code words and encrypted methods. 

The Hill’s Justine Coleman has more here.

Warren asks watchdogs to probe private White House coronavirus briefings for insider trading: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Top Senate Democrat backs waiver for Biden Pentagon nominee Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration MORE (D-Mass.) has asked the two U.S. financial market regulators to investigate whether the Trump administration’s private February warnings to a conservative think tank about the potential economic harm of the coronavirus pandemic spurred insider trading. 

In a Thursday letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath Tarbert, Warren asked the agencies to probe if administration officials privately shared information that was later used to preempt the March financial meltdown during late February briefings with the Hoover Institution.

  • The New York Times reported Wednesday that members of President Trump’s economic team gave grave warnings about the looming pandemic to members of the right-leaning think tank despite publicly downplaying the coronavirus and its potential impact. 
  • That information was later circulated among Wall Street investors through a memo written by William Callanan, a member of the Hoover board, the Times reported.

Warren called the conduct outlined in the Times report “an appalling abdication of duty by President Trump and top officials in his administration." I explain here.