President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out Warren: If Biden asked me to be VP, I would say yes NFL considers playing in empty stadiums with 2020 season set to start in September: report MORE has asked a bipartisan group of lawmakers to join a panel tasked with determining how to reopen the U.S. economy, which has been hard hit by the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
The administration’s invitations went to Republicans and Democrats in both chambers, multiple sources confirmed to The Hill.
The White House issued an announcement later Thursday afternoon naming 32 House members and 65 senators to the panel and calling it the “Opening Up America Again Congressional Group.”
Among those invited were Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Democrats press Trump to extend work protections for DACA, TPS recipients amid pandemic Illinois Democrats call on HHS to address racial health disparities Senate ‘unlikely’ to return on April 20, top GOP senator says MORE (Ill.) and Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Democratic senator rips Navy head’s ‘completely inappropriate’ speech on ousted carrier captain Democrats seize on Trump’s firing of intelligence community watchdog MORE (D-Va.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDemocrats call for pollution reduction requirements in any aid for airlines, cruises Coronavirus takes toll on Capitol Hill GOP chairman cancels Hunter Biden-related subpoena vote MORE (D-N.M.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchiff unveils bill to create coronavirus commission to review US response Kudlow slams senators who allegedly traded stock before pandemic Senators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing MORE (D-Calif.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanTrump administration says more people will automatically receive coronavirus payments Democrats slam EPA proposal not to tighten air quality standards Overnight Energy: EPA declines to toughen air quality standards | Trump to rent 27M barrels of storage space to oil companies | States, green groups sue Trump over efficiency rollback MORE (D-N.H.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCan the Trump administration prevent asylum-seeking aliens from entering the US during COVID-19? CDC director says WHO remains ‘great partner for us’ after Trump announces funding halt UN head responds to Trump: ‘Not the time’ to reduce funds for WHO MORE (D-Vt.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: Navy chief resigns over aircraft carrier controversy | Trump replaces Pentagon IG | Hospital ship crew member tests positive for coronavirus Navy chief resigns amid uproar over handling of aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Tammy Duckworth calls on acting Navy secretary to resign MORE (D-Ill.), Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenShocking ignorance about the Holocaust illustrates the need to pass the Never Again Education Act Overnight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Bipartisan Senate resolution would urge UN to renew Iran arms embargo, travel restrictions MORE (D-Nev.) and Angus KingAngus KingCollins approval rating drops in Maine: poll Trump’s IG firings prompt questions of whether more are coming Senate ‘unlikely’ to return on April 20, top GOP senator says MORE (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats.
Republican senators involved include Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out Business loan funds almost exhausted as Schumer, Mnuchin wrestle over deal Trump threatens to adjourn both chambers of Congress MORE (Ky.) and Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy GOP senators press Trump to cooperate with watchdogs following shake-up Senate ‘unlikely’ to return on April 20, top GOP senator says MORE (Ohio), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy China hawks flex muscle amid coronavirus fallout The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – States seek plans for economic revival; feds talk ‘hope’ MORE (Mo.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Lobbying world MORE (Wyo.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy Sen. Collins says Trump has been ‘very uneven’ on coronavirus Trump and Senate Republicans at a showdown over government oversight? MORE (Maine), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDemocrats try to force McConnell’s hand on coronavirus aid 13 things to know about coronavirus for today On The Money: Trump set to unveil guidelines on reopening economy | Food supply worries grow after Smithfield meat plant closure | Business tax provisions in coronavirus relief law spark controversy MORE (Ky.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOn The Money: Small business lending funds nearly depleted | Trump says White House to release guidelines on relaxing social distancing Thursday | Fed’s efforts on coronavirus raise eyebrows GOP chairman warns: Without more coronavirus testing, hard to go back to work, school Funding shortfalls threaten ramping-up of virus testing MORE (Tenn.) Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnChina hawks flex muscle amid coronavirus fallout Top Georgia Republican endorses Doug Collins Senate bid Trump must cut our dependence on Chinese drugs — whatever it takes MORE (Tenn.), David Perdue (Ga.), Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerTop Georgia Republican endorses Doug Collins Senate bid Kudlow slams senators who allegedly traded stock before pandemic Loeffler liquidates stocks amid uproar over trades after Senate coronavirus briefing MORE (Ga.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.).
In fact, all Senate Republicans except for Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump and Senate Republicans at a showdown over government oversight? Romney, Murphy introduce bill to name global health coordinator, council amid coronavirus pandemic Two Democrats roll out bill to protect inspectors general from politically motivated firing MORE (Utah) were among the names issued by the White House later Thursday.
House Democrats invited include Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerNY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Google bans Zoom from its work computers | Dem cautions White House against using surveillance to fight virus | Lawmakers push House leaders on remote voting Lawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting MORE (N.J.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyFlorida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid MORE (Fla.), Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Health Care: Trump to release guidelines on easing social distancing on Thursday | Trump WHO cuts meet blowback | Officials warn of lack of testing supplies | Global cases surpass 2 million 15 things to know about coronavirus for today House Democrats propose ,000 monthly payments to Americans MORE (Calif.), Jimmy PanettaJames Varni PanettaLawmakers cry foul as Trump considers retreating from Open Skies Treaty Hillicon Valley: US hits Huawei with new charges | Judge orders Pentagon to halt ‘war cloud’ work amid Amazon challenge | IRS removes guidance on Fortnite game currency Democrats criticize FCC for not taking action against DC station broadcasting Russian disinformation MORE (Calif.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchOcasio-Cortez knocks Pence: ‘Utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response’ Father of Parkland shooting victim calls on Congress to take action Florida ‘red flag’ law has removed hundreds of guns: report MORE (Fla.), Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerWashington state lawmakers press Boeing to accept aid Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars MORE (Wash.), John Larson John Barry LarsonThe next stimulus packages should help seniors Democrats call for stimulus to boost Social Security benefits by 0 a month New Social Security rule limits access to non-English speakers MORE (Conn.) and Henry Cuellar (Texas).
House Republicans who were involved include Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRepublicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out Democratic rep pushes for eligibility for coronavirus lending programs to be extended to chambers of commerce Business loan funds almost exhausted as Schumer, Mnuchin wrestle over deal MORE (Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out Overnight Energy: Trump reportedly opposes royalty cuts for oil, gas companies | House GOP presses Saudis to ease oil production | Exxon Mobil cuts budget amid industry slump House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump MORE (La.), GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyOn The Money: Trump set to unveil guidelines on reopening economy | Food supply worries grow after Smithfield meat plant closure | Business tax provisions in coronavirus relief law spark controversy Trump sparks GOP backlash with claim of ‘total’ power to reopen the country House GOP leaders back effort to boost small-business loans MORE (Wyo.) and Reps. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns MORE (Ore.), Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryBottom line Top GOP post on Oversight draws stiff competition Lawmakers shame ex-Wells Fargo directors for failing to reboot bank MORE (N.C.), Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse GOP lawmakers urge Senate to confirm Vought Hillicon Valley: Apple, Google launch virus tracing system | Republican says panel should no longer use Zoom | Lawmakers introduce bill to expand telehealth Jordan calls for Oversight to stop conducting business via Zoom MORE (Ohio), Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinNY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Sanders: ‘Unfair to simply say everything is bad’ in Cuba under Castro MORE (N.Y.) and Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyIG finds Treasury handled House request for Trump tax returns properly On The Money: Mnuchin, Schumer in talks to strike short-term relief deal | Small businesses struggling for loans | Treasury IG sends Dems report on handling of Trump tax returns EXCLUSIVE: Treasury IG sends report to House Dems on handling of Trump tax returns MORE (Tex.).
The formation of the congressional task force comes as Trump is eager to start reopening shuttered sectors of the country quickly as the coronavirus has devastated the economy. An additional 5.2 million people filed for unemployment last week, according to federal data released on Thursday morning. That puts the total number of unemployment claims over the past month at more than 22 million.
The president held respective phone calls with House and Senate members Thursday morning. Vice President Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinRepublicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out Business loan funds almost exhausted as Schumer, Mnuchin wrestle over deal On The Money: Small business lending funds nearly depleted | Trump says White House to release guidelines on relaxing social distancing Thursday | Fed’s efforts on coronavirus raise eyebrows MORE also participated in the call, according to Cuellar.
The call covered a number of topics, including additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, relief for small businesses, and the “rapidly expanding access to COVID-19 diagnostic and anti-body tests, ventilators, face masks, and other PPE,” or personal protective equipment, the White House said. Trump also informed lawmakers of plans to issue guidance to governors on reopening their state economies.
On Tuesday evening, the White House named a substantial group of executives from various industries as part of a council advising the president on plans to reopen the economy as the coronavirus outbreak subsides. The president held several calls with those leaders on Wednesday and was reportedly told by banking executives that the U.S. needed to ramp up testing capabilities before Americans return to work.
The White House is expected to release new guidelines on Thursday to help states make decisions on relaxing coronavirus restrictions so that Americans can return to work, and Trump has said he believes some states that have not seen a significant spread of the virus could see social distancing scaled back before May 1.
“The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases,” Trump said during a news conference Wednesday evening. “These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines on states for reopening the country.”
The decision on when and how to ease restrictions will ultimately fall to state and local officials, many of whom have issued stay-at-home orders and other measures that extend into May or longer.
When to reopen the economy has become a rolling point of debate. Lifting social distancing restrictions too soon, health experts warn, risks a second surge in cases that would result in more deaths and economic instability.
But the hit to the market comes months before November, where Trump and Republicans were expected to run on the strength of the economy.
Trump has insisted that he wants to reopen in a safe manner while maintaining that officials cannot allow the cure to be “worse than the problem.” And a growing number of GOP senators are calling for a quick, but phased, reopening of businesses and industries that have been scaled down or closed altogether.
It’s “time for Texans to go back to work,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump to release guidelines on easing social distancing on Thursday | Trump WHO cuts meet blowback | Officials warn of lack of testing supplies | Global cases surpass 2 million On The Money: Small business lending funds nearly depleted | Trump says White House to release guidelines on relaxing social distancing Thursday | Fed’s efforts on coronavirus raise eyebrows 15 things to know about coronavirus for today MORE (R-Texas) told a local TV station. “It may be that when people go back to work that they wear a mask and gloves for some period of time to limit the spread of disease.”
Democrats taking part in the White House task force quickly pledged to try to guide the panel toward not supporting lifting restrictions until steps like a nationwide testing regime were in place.
“Our primary focus must remain on the public health challenges at hand, starting with a much more comprehensive and faster testing infrastructure to track and respond to the spread of the virus. Reopening the country relies on making free testing readily available in every single community in every corner of the country, and ensuring that data is accessible and transparent,” Heinrich said in a statement.
“Ignoring science- and evidence-based recommendations and prematurely resuming business as usual would undoubtedly risk the lives of all of us,” he said.
Warner, who previously served as governor of Virginia, added in a statement that state and local officials need to be involved in the decision.
“Unfortunately, a rushed, haphazard reopening risks not only further lives lost but also further damage to our economy,” he said.
Juliegrace Brufke and Brett Samuels contributed. Updated at 4: 22 p.m.