U.S. Congress

Updated at 12:37 p.m. ET

The Senate Banking Committee took its first look at spending under the massive CARES Act, which Congress approved in March to provide assistance to individuals, businesses and local governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were pressed by senators about their stewardship of specific aspects of the approximately $2 trillion relief package at Tuesday's remote hearing.

Congressional Democrats announced Saturday they're requesting all records and documents regarding President Trump's decision to fire State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, the fourth government watchdog Trump has fired or sought to remove in the last six weeks.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

Rick Bright, a career government scientist-turned-whistleblower, told a congressional panel Thursday that without a stronger federal response, the coronavirus threatens to make 2020 the "darkest winter in modern history."

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET on May 19

For some members of Congress, an office on Capitol Hill is just, well, an office. But for others, it doubles as their apartment while they live and work in Washington, D.C.

It's a practice Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., would like to see permanently banned.

"You know, they sleep on their couches, they then get up in the morning, sneak downstairs [to] the members' gym, shower, change their clothes, and come back up for work," she describes.

Unprecedented job losses and furloughs have pushed millions of Americans to the brink of eviction during the coronavirus pandemic, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House have failed to fund a legal assistance program that is routinely available to disaster survivors.

Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET

Though the coronavirus remains a serious threat in Washington, D.C., U.S. senators return to the Capitol from their home states on Monday, more than five weeks after their last formal gathering and roll call votes.

The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package marks the largest rescue package in American history. President Trump announced Wednesday that it includes $300 billion in direct payments to individuals to alleviate at least a little of the financial pain caused by the deliberate near-standstill of the U.S. economy.

With very few people booking Airbnbs or taking Uber rides right now, millions of people in the gig economy are seeing their livelihoods abruptly upended.

Take Ed Bell, in San Francisco, who rents out his in-law suite on Airbnb. That is his main source of income — he calls it his "gig" — supplemented by "side hustles" doing consulting work.

Updated at 2:20 a.m. ET

The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced early Wednesday that the White House and Senate had reached a deal for an unprecedented $2 trillion spending package aimed at propping up individuals, businesses and the nation's health care system amid the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland made the announcement at about 1 a.m. ET.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal," Ueland said.

Updated at 8:03 p.m. ET

On Monday evening, President Trump stressed what he called the need to reopen America for business even as he said the government also would continue tackling the spiraling coronavirus pandemic.

The White House's team will make an assessment after next week as to how effective social distancing and other mitigation measures have been in stifling the spread of the virus, said Vice President Pence.

Updated at 7:20 a.m. ET

After a tense day on the Senate floor that included leaders trading barbs over who is to blame for failing to advance a new coronavirus response bill, the top Senate Democrat said late Monday night that he was "very, very close" to an agreement with the White House on a deal for a third wave of emergency funding that could go well past $1 trillion.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced legislation on Thursday to address the economic impact of the coronavirus. This is the third legislative package to deal with the outbreak.

The proposal was drafted by Senate Republicans and the Trump administration. The bill still needs to be negotiated with Senate Democrats, which McConnell said would happen Friday. Already some Democrats were criticizing the plan as too focused on help for corporations and were calling for major changes.

Updated at 10:19 p.m. ET

President Trump said Monday that the White House is planning to ask Congress to pass a payroll tax cut and relief for hourly wage earners in order to assist workers who may be feeling the financial pinch amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump said that top administration officials will be meeting with Republican members of the House and Senate on Tuesday to discuss the possible payroll tax cuts and help for hourly workers.

There were fierce clashes at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday and a fierce critique from Chief Justice John Roberts afterward upon learning about statements made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outside while the arguments were taking place inside.

Addressing a crowd of abortion-rights demonstrators, Schumer, D-N.Y., referred to the court's two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and said, "You have unleashed the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."

With supporters calling it more than 100 years in the making, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Wednesday that makes lynching a federal hate crime for the first time in U.S. history.

The Emmett Till Antilynching Act was approved in a vote of 410-4. Three Republicans and one independent representative voted against it.

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