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THE BIG DEAL–Trump says he hopes to have economy reopen by Easter: President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package Biden hits Trump’s remarks about reopening economy within weeks: ‘He should stop talking’ New York Times editorial board calls for national lockdown over coronavirus MORE on Tuesday said he hopes to have the country “opened up” by Easter — Sunday, April 12 — his most concrete goal to date for easing off restrictions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump in a Fox News virtual town hall doubled down on his push to reopen businesses in a matter of weeks in order to reinvigorate an economy stunned by the growing pandemic.
“You can destroy a country this way, by closing it down, where it literally goes from being the most prosperous,” Trump said.
“I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” Trump later added.
- His decision to set a specific date came after days of discussion among advisers, but the truncated time frame breaks with public health experts and some lawmakers who have said containing the virus should take precedence.
- The president’s comments on Tuesday made clear he is attempting to strike that balance, but is leaning toward prioritizing the economy. Some advisers have signaled in recent days that Americans are getting restless with the lack of a clear timetable for when they can return to ordinary life.
- But some economists and Republican lawmakers have warned of potentially disastrous consequences if Americans return to work and begin ignoring public health guidance to limit the spread of the virus.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said later Tuesday that Trump’s timeline should be “flexible.” “You can look at a date but you’ve got to be very flexible and on a literally day-by-day and week-by-week basis,” he said.
The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant explain here.
- “I think [Trump] runs the risk of creating enormous confusion because there’s going to be competing voices here saying different things,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
- “We’re not abandoning the health professionals’ advice, but there is a clamor to try to reopen the economy, and perhaps I’ll call it less of a shut in. And so that’s one piece that’s yet to be determined, but it’s one piece is being looked at,” White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE told reporters.
- “There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus,” Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyOn The Money: Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter | GOP senators expect stimulus vote on Wednesday | Democratic leaders forecast at least two more relief bills Trump triggers congressional debate with comments on reopening economy Trump says he hopes to have economy reopen by Easter MORE (Wyo.), a member of House GOP leadership, tweeted Tuesday.
- “It is irresponsible to place the desire to shrink the COVID-19 economic recession before protecting the lives of the American people,” said Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, the top Democrat on the Joint Economic Committee who was quarantined with his wife after they were exposed to the coronavirus.
LEADING THE DAY
GOP senators expect stimulus vote on Wednesday: Republican senators say they don’t expect a vote on a $2 trillion stimulus package until Wednesday as negotiators continue to refine language in the sprawling bill.
- One senior Republican senator said “legislative drafting is going to go late into the night.”
- A second lawmaker said the emerging consensus within the Senate GOP conference is that while a miracle might happen and a vote is possible tonight, it’s more likely that it occurs Wednesday.
GOP leaders are giving colleagues guidance that a vote is most likely Wednesday daytime even though some rank-and-file members want to vote after midnight to give employers guidance as quickly as possible about what assistance they can expect from Washington.
The state of play:
- Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi suggests coronavirus stimulus deal is near, but timing unsure House Democrats’ coronavirus bill would ban lobbying by corporations receiving aid MORE (N.Y.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWhite House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package On The Money: Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter | GOP senators expect stimulus vote on Wednesday | Democratic leaders forecast at least two more relief bills GOP senators expect stimulus vote to be Wednesday MORE have a deal mostly worked out but putting conceptual agreements into legislative text has turned into a time-consuming process.
- Schumer told reporters Monday evening “we expect to have a deal in the morning” but by 5 p.m. Tuesday he had yet to announce it was done.
- The federal government will pay the full salaries of furloughed workers for up to four months under the emerging stimulus deal, which may get a vote as soon as Tuesday.
- The Senate bill will also provide about $500 billion to the Treasury Department to backstop Federal Reserve loans to industries facing a liquidity shortage because of a loss of business related to the coronavirus crisis.
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Democratic leaders forecast at least two more coronavirus relief bills: Even as lawmakers in both chambers are racing this week to enact a massive coronavirus relief package — the third in as many weeks — House Democratic leaders are telling members to expect at least two more stimulus measures in the weeks and months ahead.
- On a marathon conference call with the House Democratic Caucus Tuesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter | GOP senators expect stimulus vote Wednesday | House Dems eye two more stimulus bills | Trump says he gets along ‘very well’ with Fauci On The Money: Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter | GOP senators expect stimulus vote on Wednesday | Democratic leaders forecast at least two more relief bills Democratic leaders forecast at least two more coronavirus relief bills MORE (D-Md.) told lawmakers there will likely be a fourth and fifth phase of pandemic relief, according to a source on the call.
- Those would follow on the heels of an initial $8.3 billion package, which focused on the immediate health concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and a second $104 billion proposal, designed to ease the financial stress on those most directly affected by the fast-moving pandemic.
It remains unclear what the next rounds of relief might entail. But House lawmakers are not alone in predicting that the economic fallout from the coronavirus will require Congress to take additional action. The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong tell us why.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package Democrats eye remote voting options House GOP whip team seeks to get Republicans behind Senate coronavirus bill MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said she’s hopeful Congress can reach a deal on a massive coronavirus relief package by day’s end, but warned that Republican “poison pills” could gum up the process and prompt House Democrats to move their own legislation.
- Boeing chief executive David Calhoun on Tuesday suggested that the aircraft manufacturer would not accept federal aid as part of a pending economic rescue bill if it meant giving the Treasury Department a stake in the company.
- Weekly initial unemployment claims are on track to spike to a historic 3.4 million for the third week of March, according to an analysis by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
- House Democrats on Monday evening released a coronavirus stimulus proposal that includes direct payments to Americans that are more generous than the rebate checks proposed by Senate Republicans.
ODDS AND ENDS
- Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskHillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID On The Money: Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter | GOP senators expect stimulus vote on Wednesday | Democratic leaders forecast at least two more relief bills Elon Musk delivers hundreds of ventilators bought in China to US MORE on Monday announced that the electric car company had bought hundreds of ventilators from China and shipped them to the U.S.