Apr 17, 2020 - Health

USDA announces $19 billion food assistance program

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and President Trump at the White House on April 17. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend $16 billion on direct payments to farmers, ranchers and producers "who experience unprecedented losses" during the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary Sonny Perdue said at Friday's White House press briefing.

What's happening: There's been an upsurge in demand for food banks across the country in the face of mass unemployment and school closures. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers and food companies have decreased production in response to dwindling demand, as restaurants and businesses close.

Details: The USDA also plans to purchase $3 billion worth of fresh produce, dairy and meat products to distribute to "Americans in need, food banks networks, as well as other community and faith-based organizations," Purdue noted on Friday.

What's next: "Based on industry estimates of damage, Mr. President, it is becoming apparent that we'll need the additional CCC funds as we continue to track the economic losses," Perdue said on Friday, after President Trump mentioned the agency would receive $14 billion in July.

Go deeper: How the coronavirus is disrupting the global food supply

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Updated 2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Health experts fear that the protests breaking out across the U.S. could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

The state of play: Being outside may limit the danger, but close quarters, yelling, and potential exposure to tear gas, which causes coughing and crying, increase the risk of spread. It's recommended that those who are protesting be tested for the coronavirus.

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets

President Trump berated the nation’s governors in a video teleconference call Monday, calling many of them "weak" and demanding tougher crackdowns on the protests that erupted throughout the country following the killing of George Floyd, according to audio of the call.

The latest: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing Monday that Trump's call for law enforcement to "dominate" protesters referred to "dominating the streets" with a robust National Guard presence in order to maintain the peace.

2 hours ago - World

Kremlin says Trump discussed inviting Russia to G7 in call with Putin

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their bilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan in 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Monday about Trump's plans to expand September's G7 meeting in Washington to include Russia, according to the Russian government's readout of the call.

The big picture: The phone call between the two leaders, which the Kremlin says was initiated by Trump, comes amid six consecutive days of mass unrest in the U.S. over police brutality and racial inequality. The White House confirmed the call took place and said a readout was forthcoming.