President Trump was on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon discussing a potential emergency payroll tax cut and protections for hourly workers with Republican Senators. The goal is to blunt the negative economic impact of Wuhan virus.
"We just had a great meeting. Tremendous unity in the Republican Party. And we’re working on a lot of different things. We’ve also had some very good updates on the virus. That’s working out very smoothly. Tremendous people. It’s a tremendous task force. They have done a great job, not a good job, a great job," Trump said. "As you know, it’s about 600 cases, it’s about 26 deaths, within our country. And had we not acted quickly, that number would have been substantially more. But we just had a meeting on stimulus, and you’ll be hearing about it soon. But it was a great meeting."
"We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away," he continued. "Be calm. It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen. The consumer is ready, and the consumer is so powerful in our country with what we’ve done with tax cuts and regulation cuts and all of those things. The consumer has never been in a better position than they are right now."
Right on cue, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer opposed the idea. They also have a list of other demands.
SCHUMER: "I'm going to be blunt. We are very worried about the president's incompetence and lack of focus on fighting the spread of coronavirus…one word could describe thus far the administration's response: incompetence."— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 10, 2020
Pelosi/Schumer statement calls for:— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) March 10, 2020
- Paid sick leave
- Enhanced unemployment insurance
- Food security
- Protections for frontline workers
- Widespread, free coronavirus testing
- Affordable treatment for all
- Anti-price gouging protections
- Increase medical system capacity
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence will give another update on the virus today at 5:30 pm et from the White House.