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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 John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race 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 CruzOcasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview MORE (R-Texas), Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Warnock hit by Republicans over 'cannot serve God and the military' comment MORE (R-Ark.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Loeffler to continue to self-isolate after conflicting COVID-19 test results MORE (R-Iowa) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Rush Limbaugh lauds Hawley: 'This guy is the real deal' Trump told advisers he could announce 2024 bid shortly after certification of Biden win: report 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 GoodenChamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night GOP lawmakers call for new sanctions on senior Chinese officials Hillicon Valley: Uber lays off 3,000 | FBI unlocks Pensacola shooter's phones | Lawmakers introduce bill restricting purchase of airline equipment from Chinese companies MORE (R-Texas), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarDemocrat O'Halleran wins reelection in Arizona House race Lil Jon slams Paul Gosar: 'Don't quote my songs' Hundreds of Trump supporters protest election results in Pennsylvania MORE (R-Ariz.) and Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzFlorida passes 850k coronavirus cases Florida GOP Rep. Mike Waltz tests positive for COVID-19 Gaetz says he has coronavirus antibodies 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.