Mnuchin, Kudlow to meet with Senate GOP as coronavirus's economic impact grows

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBank executives sought guidance on small business loan program from Ivanka Trump: report Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves Confusion surrounds launch of 9B in small-business loans MORE and National Economic Council Director Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE will meet with Senate Republicans Tuesday amid growing concern about a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus within the United States. 

The two men will attend the closed-door Senate GOP caucus lunch, where they're expected to discuss potential steps Congress could take as fears about the coronavirus have roiled the stock markets. 

Fears about an economic slowdown sparked by the virus sent stocks tumbling again on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen more than 2,000 points, a 7.9 percent decline, shortly after 2 p.m. The S&P 500 was down 7 percent, triggering an automatic 15-minute pause earlier, and the Nasdaq composite was down 6.2 percent.


Lawmakers are discussing potential economic relief packages, though those ideas are in their early stages. 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyLawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus MORE (R-Iowa) "is exploring the possibility of targeted tax relief measures that could provide a timely and effective response to the coronavirus," spokesman Michael Zona said on Monday. 

"Several options within the committee’s jurisdiction are being considered as we learn more about the effects on specific industries and the overall economy," Zona added. 

The Trump administration is facing questions about how it will protect the economy as fears about a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus within the United States have sent stocks tumbling in recent days. 

The Federal Reserve announced an emergency interest rate cut last week, and the $8.3 billion spending package to fight the virus that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE signed on Friday includes $1 billion in loans for businesses that may be harmed by the outbreak.


The Washington Post reported late last week that administration officials were considering deferring taxes for sectors most affected by the outbreak, including the hospitality, cruise, travel and airline industries.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says he opposes mail-in voting for November On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans The bipartisan neutering of the Congressional Budget Office MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Schumer doubles down in call for Trump to name coronavirus supply czar Trump lashes out at Schumer over call for supply czar MORE (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement on Sunday night setting early goal posts for any potential economic legislative package, including paid sick leave, bolstering unemployment insurance and "widespread and free" testing for the coronavirus.

“We are hoping to work with the administration on a coordinated, government-wide plan to respond to the coronavirus. ... However, President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration and it is hampering the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak," the two Democratic leaders said. 

There's growing anxiety on Capitol Hill about potential disruptions the virus could create to day-to-day workings of the Capitol and office buildings. Two lawmakers announced on Sunday that they will self-quarantine after interacting with an individual at CPAC who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

Both House and Senate offices have been told to make sure staffers could telework if needed, and Pelosi is expected to meet with House Democratic leadership later Monday to discuss potential legislative options. 

"What we know about the Dow is that they want certainty. ... And I think that what is happening there is a reflection of the lack of confidence and so we would hope that what is coming out of the White House will be more consistent," Pelosi said on Monday.