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Trump, governors spar over virus testing concerns as president remains ‘hopeful’ of aid bill deal

WASHINGTON, DC -- President Donald Trump on Monday again criticized governors who've said they don't have enough tests for the new coronavirus to ease restrictions on economic activity.

Many of the nation’s governors have expressed concerns about returning to a more normal course of business without greatly expanding testing.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland announced Monday that he had secured 500,000 tests from South Korea after more than 20 days of negotiations. He said states had been forced to fend for themselves and compete against each other for tests.

But Trump said at his daily briefing on Monday that Hogan did not understand “too much about what was going on.” Trump also said Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois “did not understand his capacity.”

Trump said the administration provided governors on Monday with a list of labs where they could find additional testing capacity. The president said “we're in very good shape on testing.”

Trump also said ”it is a complex subject,” and noted that the states should lead.

Meanwhile, negotiations on a new $450 billion coronavirus aid package dragged past Monday's hoped-for deadline, but Trump insisted a final pact is within reach - despite a debate over testing emerging as one of the final areas of dispute.

Trump said at the briefing that he expected a U.S. Senate vote “hopefully" on Tuesday.

As talks continued, the contours of the deal appeared largely set. Most of the funding, some $300 billion, would go to boost a small-business payroll loan program that's out of money. Additional help would be given to hospitals, and billions more would be spent to boost testing for the virus, a key step in building the confidence required to reopen state economies.

A national testing plan remained a sticking point in finalizing the aid deal, however.

Democrats are pushing for a clear set of metrics to chart the country's progress in expanding testing, and to hold the administration accountable for any ongoing shortages, according to a Democratic source who spoke with ABC News.

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ABC News

Associated Press


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