Monday morning news – April 20, 2020

Deal on Paycheck Protection Program extension reportedly close » House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress and the Trump administration are getting close on a deal to refill a now-empty fund for small businesses.

The Paycheck Protection Program is on hold after it reached its $349 billion spending cap. 

PELOSI: The money has not all been distributed, although it has all been committed. That means there is no more money. They will have more money as soon as we come to an agreement, which will be soon. 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin shares the speaker’s optimism. He told CNN’s State of the Union

MNUCHIN: I think we’re making a lot of progress. I’ve had multiple conversations all weekend with the leadership of both the Senate and the House. 

The two sides are said to be closing in on an aid package of more than $400 billion. That reportedly includes more than $300 billion to refuel the depleted Paycheck Protection Program while allocating $60 billion of that cash for rural communities and minority groups. And another $60 billion will go into another Small Business Administration program called the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the two sides could reach an agreement as soon as today.

Some states announce plans to begin reviving economies » Some states are now announcing their intention to slowly reopen their economies. 

Stores in Texas can soon begin selling merchandise with curbside service, and hospitals can resume nonessential surgeries. In Florida, people are returning to a few beaches and parks. 

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said Saturday—his words—“Very productive call this afternoon with southeastern governors. We discussed each state’s plans to safely get folks back into the workplace. Told them South Carolina was ready.”

And six Midwestern states have signed an agreement to coordinate reopening after May 1st. Ohio is a part of that pact, and Governor Mike DeWine told NBC’s Meet the Press

DEWINE: We have to come back, and that’s what we’re aiming to do beginning on May 1st. And frankly it’s consistent, very, very consistent with the very thoughtful plan that the president has laid out. 

The Trump administration last week laid out new guidelines for governors to begin reviving their economies as conditions in their states allow. 

DeWine has not yet detailed what the state’s initial steps will be. But he said it’s a dedicated and critical balance, adding—quote—“If we do not do this right, the consequences are horrendous.” But also noted that the economy must slowly reopen to avoid a sharp rise in things like homelessness and drug abuse. 

Protesters gather to decry quarantine orders » But some people are growing increasingly impatient with social distancing and quarantine orders. 

A growing number of protests have cropped up around the country. Groups staged demonstrations over the weekend in several cities, including Austin, Texas.

PROTESTERS: Let us work! Let us work!

Some accused President Trump of encouraging public protest gatherings by tweeting on Friday in all caps—quote—“LIBERATE MINNESOTA! LIBERATE MICHIGAN! LIBERATE VIRGINIA!”

All three of those states have Democratic governors. At a White House briefing a short time later, a reporter asked the president if he was concerned that protesters are gathering in a way that “health experts have said they should not.”

TRUMP: No, these are people expressing their views. I see where they are and I see the way they’re working. They seem to be very responsible people to me, but they’ve been treated a little bit rough. 

Trump said he felt some states had gone too far in their quarantine orders. 

But on Sunday, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said restrictions are in place for a very good reason. 

BIRX: They need to really follow state and local guidelines, and they themselves need to be educated and knowledgeable about this virus. We’re not only protecting ourselves but we’re protecting each other when they follow the guidelines. 

At least 13 dead after mass shooting in Canada » A man wearing a police uniform went on a shooting rampage as he drove around the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on Sunday—killing  at least 13 people, including a police officer.

CPL. Lisa Croteau with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called it “a devastating day for Nova Scotia.” 

CROTEAU: What has unfolded overnight and into this morning is incomprehensible and many families are experiencing the loss of a loved one. That includes our own RCP family. 

Several of the dead were found inside and outside one home in the small, rural town of Portapique, about 60 miles north of Halifax. Police began advising residents of the town—already on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic—to lock their doors and stay in their basements. Several homes in the area were set on fire as well.

Authorities said the suspect, a 51-year-old man, wore a police uniform at one point and made his car look like a police cruiser.

Police arrested the suspect at a gas station near Halifax and later announced that he had died.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said—quote—“We believe it to be one person who is responsible for all the killings and that he alone moved across the northern part of the province and committed what appears to be several homicides,” 

Police have not provided a motive for the attack, but Leather said many of the victims did not know the shooter.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Vehicles stack up along the lanes of Lincoln Avenue during a car protest against the stay-at-home order issued by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to stem the spread of the new coronavirus Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Denver. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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