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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 PelosiSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Senators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure 'framework' Tim Cook called Pelosi to say tech antitrust bills were rushed MORE (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats fear they are running out of time on Biden agenda Tech industry pushes for delay in antitrust legislation Biden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' 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 MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says 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 SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats urge Biden to extend moratorium on student loan payments White House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill 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 DeFazioNewest Boeing 737 Max takes first test flight FAA official defends SpaceX despite unauthorized December launch High-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress 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 TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum 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.