Politics

Trump: Payroll Tax Cuts And Hourly Worker Relief Possible In Coronavirus Response

President Trump speaks about the coronavirus alongside Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Monday.
President Trump speaks about the coronavirus alongside Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Monday.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Updated Monday 7:15 p.m. ET

President Trump said on Monday that the White House is planning on asking Congress to pass a payroll tax cut and relief for hourly wage earners in order to assist workers who may be feeling the financial pinch amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump said that top administration officials will be meeting with members of the House and Senate on Tuesday to discuss the possible payroll tax cuts and help for hourly workers.

"Very substantial relief that's a big number," Trump said. "We're also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position so they are not going to ever miss a paycheck," he said.

Trump said the White House is also working with the Small Business Administration and industries including airlines, cruise ship businesses and hotel owners, which are all grappling with economic hardship as demand from consumers slumps and travelers cancel plans.

"We are going to take care of and have been taking care of the American public and the American economy," Trump said.

Trump's announcement comes after the worst day for markets since 2008, because of fears that the coronavirus will plunge the economy into recession. Trump met on Monday with his task force managing the country's response.

The Trump administration has also summoned Wall Street executives to the White House for a meeting on Wednesday about the impacts of the coronavirus on the economy, a person familiar with the meeting confirmed.

Vice President Mike Pence said more than 1 million coronavirus tests have been distributed and an additional 4 million are planning to be distributed.

Pence said he has not been tested for the respiratory disease. He said he did not know whether President Trump has been tested for coronavirus.

Rep. Matt Gaetz said on Monday that was self-quarantining after learning he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus at a conservative conference last month. Before making the announcement, Gaetz had flown on Air Force One with Trump.

Asked whether the coronavirus shock will send the American economy into recession, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sounded confident that the U.S. economy is resilient enough to push through the financial jitters.

"There are parts of the economy that will be impacted, especially workers who need to be at home, hard-working people who are at home under quarantine or taking care of their family. We'll be working on a program to address that," he said. "We will also be working with small businesses."

Mnuchin added: "The economy will be in really good shape a year from now. This is not like the financial crisis where we don't know the end in sight. This is about providing proper tools and liquidity to get through the next few months."

This story will be updated.

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