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GOP lawmakers press Trump to suspend visas over coronavirus job losses

GOP lawmakers press Trump to suspend visas over coronavirus job losses
© Greg Nash

Four GOP senators are urging President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE to suspend immigration for guest workers as the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

Politico first reported a letter from Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Ocasio-Cortez hits Yang over scrapped Eid event: 'Utterly shameful' MORE (R-Texas), Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Opposition to refugees echoes one of America's most shameful moments White House defends CDC outreach to teachers union MORE (R-Ark.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOn The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns MORE (R-Iowa) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyRepublicans' 'marriage bonus' is social engineering at its worst Cruz outspending other senators on Facebook ads: report Press: Let us now praise Liz Cheney MORE (R-Mo.) calling on Trump to suspend guest worker visas for 60 days and prevent some workers from returning to the U.S. for up to a year.

"We write today regarding employment-based immigration into the United States during our country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic," the four senators wrote. "Specifically, we write to urge you to suspend all new guest worker visas for sixty days, and to suspend certain categories of new guest worker visas for at least the next year."

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Exceptions to the ban should only be allowed for companies that can prove they can't hire U.S. citizens to fill their open positions, the four senators continued.

A number of House Republicans, including Reps. Lance GoodenLance GoodenLoyalty trumps policy in Stefanik's rise, Cheney's fall GOP frustration with Liz Cheney 'at a boiling point' Blackburn introduces bill to require migrant DNA testing at border MORE (R-Texas), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarGaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program 136 Republicans get Fs in accountability rankings from anti-Trump GOP group House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters MORE (R-Ariz.) and Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Federal investigators seeking cooperation from former Gaetz girlfriend, second key witness: CNN GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote MORE (R-Fla.), have signed on to a similar effort, writing in their own letter to Trump that "unaddressed guest worker programs" represent a "greater threat" than did green cards.  Trump suspended new applications for green cards in April.

The letters come as tens of millions of U.S. workers have filed for unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced many nonessential businesses around the company to temporarily shutter. Economists have warned that high costs associated with the shutdown could force many businesses to remain closed permanently.

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Lawmakers have provided funding for loans to support small businesses in previous stimulus bills, but the path for any additional legislation is unclear.

Payroll services provider ADP said on Wednesday that the U.S. private sector shed about 20 million jobs during the month of April, a shock to the economy that analysts called "unprecedented."

"The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession," Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said.

The Labor Department will release May unemployment data on Friday.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. to include information about the House effort.