House lawmakers indefinitely postpone return to Washington

House Democratic leaders will indefinitely postpone their return to Washington as a precautionary measure amid rising anxieties over the fast-moving coronavirus.

The House was scheduled to return to the Capitol on March 23, but Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNRCC turns up heat on vulnerable Democrats over Omar's call to abolish police Shocking job numbers raise hopes for quicker recovery Engel primary challenger hits million in donations MORE (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPelosi: Democrats to unveil sweeping criminal justice proposal Monday Calls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Hoyer wins Maryland House primary MORE (D-Md.) told rank-and-file Democrats on a conference call Monday that they’ll postpone that date, according to several aides familiar with the leadership message.

"Hoyer said for sure not Monday, and he will update them about the rest of the week," one aide said, noting that potential cancellations of domestic flights may also play a role. "This is all pending domestic travel situation too."

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While discussing the need for more relief packages, leaders also explored the possibility of staggering future votes so all 435 members are not on the House floor at the same time.

The message arrives as Washington policymakers are scrambling for an appropriate response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed thousands of people around the globe — more than 60 in the United States — and hammered global economies.

Earlier this month, Congress passed an $8.3 billion package largely aimed at the immediate health concerns related to the pandemic. House lawmakers on Saturday passed economic stimulus legislation designed to ease the financial stress on those most directly affected.

Pelosi is negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner Mnuchin The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Association of American Railroads Ian Jefferies says no place for hate, racism or bigotry in rail industry or society; Trump declares victory in response to promising jobs report Trump signs bill giving businesses more time to spend coronavirus loans The Hill's Coronavirus Report: BIO's Michelle McMurry-Heath says 400 projects started in 16 weeks in biotech firms to fight virus, pandemic unemployment total tops 43 million MORE on technical corrections to that economic stimulus, which the Senate is expected to take up.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are already eyeing another emergency coronavirus relief package designed to help industries and businesses that have been hit hard by the deadly outbreak.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSheldon Whitehouse leads Democrats into battle against Trump judiciary GOP lawmaker calls on Senate to confirm Michael Pack as head of US media agency McConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump over treatment of protesters MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday floated a massive $750 billion economic relief package that will include funding to expand hospital capacity, boost Medicaid and expand unemployment insurance for workers who lose their jobs as a result of the crisis.

Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioInvesting in the transportation system America needs Overnight Energy: 'Gutted' Interior agency moves out West | House Dems roll out 0B green infrastructure bill | Court says EPA must update its offshore oil spill response plan House Democrats roll out 0B green transportation infrastructure bill MORE (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is sounding alarms related to one industry in particular: the nation’s airlines. He warned on Monday’s conference call that the industry is facing a crisis more severe than the one that followed the 9/11 attacks.

DeFazio “talked about making sure any assistance to airlines puts workers first, and there should be conditions to ensure assistance isn’t used for CEOs or stock buybacks,” said a source on the call.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE, joined by top public health officials, addressed the country Monday afternoon for the second time in four days to roll out several new initiatives designed to shore up the sinking economy.

“Our government is prepared to do whatever it takes,” he said.

Updated at 4:11 p.m.