Trump pitching $850 billion coronavirus stimulus as Congress rushes to provide economic relief – live updates

WASHINGTON —  President Donald Trump will ask Congress for a roughly $850 billion stimulus package to stem the blow to the economy from massive shutdowns related to the coronavirus, according to an administration official.

An official said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is “asking Congress for a package today but we are not in a position to confirm the number at this time.” Another official said the number is “around $850 billion.”

Senators later today will hear more about the next package and hope to get a precise dollar figure from Mnuchin at a Republican lunch at the U.S. Capitol. The package is expected to include $500 billion for a payroll tax holiday, $50 billion for airlines and $250 billion for small business loans, according to an administration analysis. 

Trump has been pushing the idea of a payroll tax holiday to get cash into Americans’ pockets. He said Monday that he believes help for the beleaguered airline industry is also crucial. Democrats and some Republicans are wary of the payroll tax idea, saying it won’t help some of the people hit hardest by the disruptions, such as those who have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY. has unveiled a proposal to spend $750 billion to address a number of sectors, including emergency child care for health care workers and first responders; medicine and food delivery systems for seniors, and assistance to keep public transportation running.

– David Jackson, Christal Hayes and Ledge King

McConnell: Senate won’t leave until another coronavirus package is passed

Speaking on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would not adjourn until another, larger coronavirus assistance package is passed. 

“The Senate will not adjourn until we have passed significant and bold new steps above and beyond what the House has passed to help our strong nation and our strong underlying economy,” he said. 

McConnell said he wanted “more direct assistance” for workers and families, as well as steps to protect small businesses. Negotiations were ongoing over further legislation, he said. 

– Nicholas Wu

Coronavirus bill in Senate’s hands

A legislative response to coronavirus is now in the Senate’s hands while officials and lawmakers work on a broader stimulus package. 

Last night, the House of Representatives passed an amended version of the bill, finally breaking a procedural logjam. The bill would provide paid sick leave to millions of American workers, bolster unemployment insurance and make coronavirus tests free. 

It is expected to pass the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor yesterday that senators were “eager to act quickly” to help combat the disease, which has been named COVID-19. 

The bill would only be the “beginning” of the legislative response, McConnell said on the Senate floor, as lawmakers begin deliberations on another, even larger package to combat the coronavirus’ effects on the economy as stocks tumble and business losses mount.

The administration already is working with lawmakers on another relief bill to help cruise lines, airlines and other businesses that have been particularly hammered by the economic fallout from the virus. The airlines alone are seeking $50 billion in grants and loans to cover losses from coronavirus.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to pitch lawmakers Tuesday on an $850-billion stimulus plan to boost the economy, according to reports from The New York Times and The Washington Post

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY. has unveiled a proposal to spend $750 billion to address a number of sectors, including emergency child care for health care workers and first responders; medicine and food delivery systems for seniors, and assistance to keep public transportation running.

And McConnell has his own list of broad priorities: more help for families dealing with financial challenges, aid to businesses hurt by the disruptions and shoring up the health care sector to prevent it from becoming overburdened.

More:Coronavirus updates: US braces for possible recession as death toll hits 85; Ohio cancels primary

More:Ohio election called off by coronavirus ‘health emergency’ after on-again, off-again day of confusion

Some lawmakers have expressed concerns about moving quickly on legislation as the virus disrupts travel and the ability for Congress to reconvene and pass new legislation. 

“I don’t think we can assume that we can keep reconvening the Senate every week,,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told reporters yesterday, citing the possible disruption of air travel and the risk of exposing members to the virus. “I don’t think we can operate as if we can just bring the Senate and the House back together whenever we want.”

More:With the U.S. economy in trouble, Congress seeks to put coronavirus relief bill on a faster track

The virus’ impact on the nation’s politics is already being felt. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered polls closed Monday, postponing the state’s Democratic election scheduled for Tuesday. He cited a “health emergency” in making his decision. Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, the other three states holding primary elections today, have not announced any changes to their voting schedule. 

Coronavirus Task Force press briefing this morning 

The Coronavirus Task Force has a briefing scheduled at 11:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday morning to discuss the coronavirus. During yesterday’s task force briefing, the Trump administration rolled out new guidelines for Americans to follow over the next 15 days, including: avoiding groups of over 10 people, attending school from home, and urging governors in states with community spread to close bars, food courts, gyms and restaurants. 

More:As Trump acknowledges U.S. ‘may be’ headed for recession, House passes coronavirus aid package

President Donald Trump also has a busy day of meetings with business leaders to discuss the impacts of the coronavirus. Trump is scheduled to hold a phone meeting with restaurant executives, meet with tourism industry executives and participate in a phone conference with supply retailers and wholesalers.

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