20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order

20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order
© Greg Nash

Twenty Democratic lawmakers called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE to issue a two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order “immediately” in a letter sent Tuesday.

The suggested move would follow in the footsteps of the 15 states that have issued similar orders in the last few days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Trump, however, has indicated this week he is leaning in the opposite direction, saying in a Fox News interview on Tuesday he hopes to have the economy back up and running by Easter.

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaSome in Congress want to keep sending our troops to Afghanistan House panel votes to limit Trump's Germany withdrawal It's time to eliminate land-based nuclear missiles MORE (D-Calif.), the main signatory of the letter, suggested an order that would permit people to travel for essential services such as groceries and health care, as well as to and from workplaces if they are considered critical workers.

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The lawmakers say the lack of coronavirus testing and ability for asymptomatic individuals to “unknowingly” pass on the virus should drive the government to “reduce person-to-person contact to the bare minimum.”

“Our current actions to stem the tide are not enough,” the letter reads. “The total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have nearly doubled over the last 48 hours. At this rate, we will surpass one million confirmed cases and 13,000 deaths within the next ten days.”

Other House Democrats who co-signed the letter include Reps. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarTexas Democrat proposes legislation requiring masks in federal facilities Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Democrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle MORE (Texas), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFinancial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (Hawaii), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats start cracking down on masks for lawmakers Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE (Md.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOver 570 women registered to run for office, topping 2018 record Democrats see victory in Trump culture war The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue MORE (Mich.). 

They cited the lack of a Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine or treatment for the virus, which has shaken the nation and could potentially overwhelm hospitals that are already short on medical supplies.

The lawmakers acknowledge the economic impact of such an order. 

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“There is no doubt that an action of this magnitude will temporarily disrupt daily lives and cause short-term economic pain, but it will help prevent an extended outbreak and response that could plunge us deep into a long-lasting recession,” the letter read.  

Trump has shown resistance to the idea of any kind of national shutdown or curfew to fight the coronavirus, saying Tuesday that "you can destroy a country this way, by closing it down."

"It's not built to shut down. Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don’t want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space," he said.