SPONSORED:

Trump taps members of Congress to advise on reopening

President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE has asked a bipartisan group of lawmakers to join a panel tasked with determining how to reopen the U.S. economy, which has been hard hit by the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

The administration's invitations went to Republicans and Democrats in both chambers, multiple sources confirmed to The Hill. 

The White House issued an announcement later Thursday afternoon naming 32 House members and 65 senators to the panel and calling it the “Opening Up America Again Congressional Group.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Among those invited were Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats go down to the wire with Manchin Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave MORE (Ill.) and Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBiden risks break with progressives on infrastructure Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting On The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike MORE (D-Va.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSchumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' FBI warns lawmakers of violence from QAnon conspiracy theorists Overnight Energy: Company officially nixes Keystone XL pipeline | Government watchdog finds failings, but no Trump influence, in clearing of Lafayette Square MORE (D-N.M.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinProgressive groups ramp up pressure on Feinstein Youth climate activists march outside California homes of Pelosi and Feinstein Cosmetic chemicals need a makeover MORE (D-Calif.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDemocrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (D-N.H.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyShelby signals GOP can accept Biden's .5T with more for defense Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Biden budget expands government's role in economy MORE (D-Vt.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTaiwan reports incursion by dozens of Chinese warplanes Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit MORE (D-Ill.), Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenSenate passes resolution condemning recent rise in antisemitic attacks Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms MORE (D-Nev.) and Angus KingAngus KingCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Biden struggles to detail post-withdrawal Afghanistan plans Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats.

Republican senators involved include Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats go down to the wire with Manchin Schumer unloads on GOP over elections bill: 'How despicable of a man is Donald Trump?' This week: Senate set for voting rights fight MORE (Ky.) and Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure This week: Senate set for voting rights fight Portman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill MORE (Ohio),  Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Eliminate family and child poverty: Richard Nixon may help in today's debate GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (Mo.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoObama land management chief says Biden nominee should withdraw over tree-spiking incident Juan Williams: Trump's GOP descends into farce Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (Wyo.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (Maine), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci says he puts 'very little weight in the craziness of condemning me' Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why MORE (Ky.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Tenn.) Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senator introduces constitutional amendment to ban flag burning Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' Pentagon report clears use of drones made by top Chinese manufacturer MORE (Tenn.), David Perdue (Ga.), Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Herschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (Ga.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.). 

In fact, all Senate Republicans except for Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Defense: Senate panel delays Iraq war powers repeal | Study IDs Fort Hood as least-safe base for female soldiers | Pentagon loosens some COVID-19 restrictions Senate panel delays war authorization repeal after GOP push Eliminate family and child poverty: Richard Nixon may help in today's debate MORE (Utah) were among the names issued by the White House later Thursday.

House Democrats invited include Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Omar feuds with Jewish Democrats House moderates unveil .25T infrastructure plan MORE (N.J.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyOvernight Health Care: US buying additional 200M Moderna vaccine doses | CureVac's COVID-19 vaccine failed in preliminary trial results | Grassley meets with House Dems on drug prices Grassley meets with moderate House Democrats on lowering drug prices Demings raises Democrats' hopes in uphill fight to defeat Rubio MORE (Fla.), Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaPublic option fades with little outcry from progressives Democrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Khanna outlines how progressives will push in climate infrastructure proposal MORE (Calif.), Jimmy PanettaJames Varni PanettaOvernight Defense: US nearing halfway point of Afghanistan withdrawal | Army soldiers mistakenly raid olive oil factory House Democrats introduce bill to protect transgender military dependents The case for improving America's research and experimentation tax credit MORE (Calif.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchWray grilled on FBI's handling of Jan. 6 Omar feuds with Jewish Democrats Shakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' MORE (Fla.), Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Head of House Office of Diversity and Inclusion urges more staff diversity House lawmakers roll out bill to invest 0 million in state and local cybersecurity MORE (Wash.), John Larson John Barry LarsonThe case for improving America's research and experimentation tax credit To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Democrats have a growing tax problem with SALT MORE (Conn.) and Henry Cuellar (Texas).

House Republicans who were involved include Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal Chuck Todd reluctant to 'ban' election deniers from 'Meet the Press' GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment MORE (La.), GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyLiz Cheney hired security after death threats: report Cheney: 'It is disgusting and despicable' to see Gosar 'lie' about Jan. 6 GOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas MORE (Wyo.) and Reps. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenEx-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm Lobbying world Give Republicans the climate credit they deserve MORE (Ore.), Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryHouse fails to pass bill to promote credit fairness for LGTBQ-owned businesses McCarthy unveils House GOP task forces, chairs On The Money: House panel spars over GameStop, Robinhood | Manchin meets with advocates for wage | Yellen says go big, GOP says hold off MORE (N.C.), Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal White House slaps down Jim Jordan attack on gas prices GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (Ohio), Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinAndrew Giuliani to run for New York governor The US has a significant flooding problem — Congress can help GOP lawmakers ask acting inspector general to investigate John Kerry MORE (N.Y.) and Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyMcConnell presses for 'actual consequences' in disclosure of tax data On The Money: House Democrats line up .5T in spending without budget | GOP takes aim at IRS | House Democrat mulls wealth tax Republicans open new line of attack on IRS MORE (Tex.).

ADVERTISEMENT

The formation of the congressional task force comes as Trump is eager to start reopening shuttered sectors of the country quickly as the coronavirus has devastated the economy. An additional 5.2 million people filed for unemployment last week, according to federal data released on Thursday morning. That puts the total number of unemployment claims over the past month at more than 22 million.

The president held respective phone calls with House and Senate members Thursday morning. Vice President Pence and 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 also participated in the call, according to Cuellar. 

The call covered a number of topics, including additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, relief for small businesses, and the “rapidly expanding access to COVID-19 diagnostic and anti-body tests, ventilators, face masks, and other PPE,” or personal protective equipment, the White House said. Trump also informed lawmakers of plans to issue guidance to governors on reopening their state economies.

On Tuesday evening, the White House named a substantial group of executives from various industries as part of a council advising the president on plans to reopen the economy as the coronavirus outbreak subsides. The president held several calls with those leaders on Wednesday and was reportedly told by banking executives that the U.S. needed to ramp up testing capabilities before Americans return to work.

The White House is expected to release new guidelines on Thursday to help states make decisions on relaxing coronavirus restrictions so that Americans can return to work, and Trump has said he believes some states that have not seen a significant spread of the virus could see social distancing scaled back before May 1. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases,” Trump said during a news conference Wednesday evening. “These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines on states for reopening the country.”

The decision on when and how to ease restrictions will ultimately fall to state and local officials, many of whom have issued stay-at-home orders and other measures that extend into May or longer. 

When to reopen the economy has become a rolling point of debate. Lifting social distancing restrictions too soon, health experts warn, risks a second surge in cases that would result in more deaths and economic instability.

But the hit to the market comes months before November, where Trump and Republicans were expected to run on the strength of the economy.

Trump has insisted that he wants to reopen in a safe manner while maintaining that officials cannot allow the cure to be “worse than the problem.” And a growing number of GOP senators are calling for a quick, but phased, reopening of businesses and industries that have been scaled down or closed altogether.

It’s "time for Texans to go back to work,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry DeSantis tops Trump in 2024 presidential straw poll White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE (R-Texas) told a local TV station. “It may be that when people go back to work that they wear a mask and gloves for some period of time to limit the spread of disease.”

Democrats taking part in the White House task force quickly pledged to try to guide the panel toward not supporting lifting restrictions until steps like a nationwide testing regime were in place. 

“Our primary focus must remain on the public health challenges at hand, starting with a much more comprehensive and faster testing infrastructure to track and respond to the spread of the virus. Reopening the country relies on making free testing readily available in every single community in every corner of the country, and ensuring that data is accessible and transparent,” Heinrich said in a statement.

“Ignoring science- and evidence-based recommendations and prematurely resuming business as usual would undoubtedly risk the lives of all of us,” he said.

Warner, who previously served as governor of Virginia, added in a statement that state and local officials need to be involved in the decision.

“Unfortunately, a rushed, haphazard reopening risks not only further lives lost but also further damage to our economy,” he said. 

Juliegrace Brufke and Brett Samuels contributed. Updated at 4:22 p.m.