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In our news wrap Thursday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked the Trump administration’s request for another $250 billion in pandemic relief for small business -- saying that they support the idea but want a similar sum for hospitals and states. Also, reports indicate a trip by acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly to Guam to address the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt cost upwards of $240,000.
In the day's other news: Democrats in the United States Senate blocked the Trump administration's request for another $250 billion in pandemic relief for small business.
They said they support that idea, but also want a similar sum for hospitals and states. The brief debate played out in a mostly empty Senate chamber.
Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
Do not block emergency aid you do not oppose just because you want something more. Nobody believes this is the Senate's last word on COVID-19.
Senator Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.:
Yes, we do need additional money. We know that. But equally important, let's fix some of the kinks. And there are kinks in this program.
Majority Leader McConnell, in turn, blocked the Democrats' counterproposals. The two sides are holding more talks, but it is unclear when they might come to agreement.
There is more fallout from the viral outbreak aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. It turns out that air travel last weekend by then acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, so that he could address the ship's crew in Guam, cost upwards of $240,000.
Modly resigned on Tuesday, after firing and then sharply criticizing the ship's captain.
In Yemen, a partial cease-fire was supposed to take effect today in the five-year-old civil war in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels said that it would halt operations for two weeks. The rebels allied with Iran dismissed it as a ploy.
Iraq's political troubles continue, with the president today tapping intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi to be prime minister-designate. He is the third person to hold the title in just over a month. The others quit, amid political infighting.
President Barham Salih underscored public demands for change today voiced during months of protests.
President Barham Salih (through translator):
Today, we meet in the presence of these who represent the Iraqi political spectrum. They are keen to form a national government based on the national will, and committed to the reforms sought by the Iraqi people, who are expecting us to fulfill their rights in a free and dignified life.
Al-Kadhimi now has 30 days to win support of powerful sectarian factions and to form a ruling coalition.
Back in this country, severe storms tore through parts of the Midwest and the South overnight. In Indiana, a possible tornado ripped through Mooresville just outside Indianapolis. The storm tore off roofs and damaged the town's main road. Overall, dozens of homes and buildings were damaged, and thousands lost power, but no one was killed.
And the Trump administration today proposed opening more than two million acres to hunting and fishing at more than 100 wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries. They include San Diego Bay in California and Everglades Headwaters in Florida, among others.
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