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WASHINGTON — Negotiations on another coronavirus stimulus bill are ramping up.

“We are working and negotiating with the Democrats,” President Trump said Monday. “I’m trying to get a plan to help small businesses, help people, help this country.”

During a White House photo-op, President Trump told reporters that talks are going well.  He cited tremendous progress on possible vaccines and coronavirus therapeutic drugs.  Trump again blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic.  Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the focus of the latest bill will be on kids, jobs, and vaccines.  Enhanced unemployment benefits expire by the end of the month.

Congressional Republican leaders were also summoned to an Oval Office meeting with Trump, Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it’s important to protect businesses from an “epidemic of lawsuits” related to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.  He and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy also stressed reopening schools in a safe manner.  McCarthy urged Democrats to “set politics aside” and negotiate a stimulus bill in good faith.