Per TheHill, the Trump administration is laying the foundation to push for a reopening of parts of the U.S. economy as early as the beginning of May amid rising pressure over unemployment numbers rivaling those during the Great Depression.
President Trump and top government officials in recent days have talked about seeing “glimmers of hope” and “light at the end of the tunnel” while publicly discussing ideas for how to revive the economy.
The president has floated reopening businesses in parts of the country that do not have outbreaks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday unveiled guidelines meant to encourage those in critical sectors who have been exposed to the coronavirus but aren’t showing symptoms to continue working.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday that he believes companies could reopen in May as long as Trump “feels comfortable with the medical issues.”
USAToday reports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cautioned President Donald Trump against reopening the country too quickly and suggested the House of Representatives might not return to Washington, D.C. at the end of April as originally planned as the coronavirus pandemic continued to spiral.
In a Thursday interview with Politico, when asked if she was worried about Trump moving to reopen the country too early, Pelosi said, “I would hope that the scientific community would weigh in and say, ‘You can’t do this, it is only going to make matters worse if you go out too soon.’”
To reopen the country, Pelosi, said, several factors would need to be considered, such as widespread testing and safety standards in workplaces.
“We have to know. It’s data. And that’s something that I haven’t seen as the basis for any decision making. In fact, I’ve seen the opposite,” she said.
Top Trump administration officials have suggested this week that parts of the country and the economy could reopen by May. In a Wednesday interview with Fox News, Attorney General William Barr said the coronavirus mitigation measures were “draconian” and should be reevaluated at the end of the month.
And Thursday, on CNBC, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested parts of the economy could reopen by May “as soon as the president feels comfortable with the medical issues.”
Asked in Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing what criteria might be used to reopen the government and the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters, “it really varies differently. So I don’t think there’s one medical criteria.” He noted that reopening a huge metropolitan area like New York City would be different from that of a town in the Midwest or in the mountain regions.
Asked if the House of Representatives should reconvene on April 20, the current date set for their return, Pelosi said, “Nobody can really tell you that and I would never venture a guess. I certainly don’t think we should do it sooner than we should,”
Members of Congress have been reluctant to come back to Washington as several members of Congress have tested positive for the coronavirus. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., tested positive Thursday, becoming the sixth member to test positive.
Pelosi also got in a jab at Trump and his often-lengthy coronavirus briefings, telling Politico the limited amount of time she had with her “day job” was “not to watch the president contradict himself on TV.”
“I don’t watch them. I sometimes see inadvertently or just by accident some of the news reporting on it,” Pelosi said of the briefings, which sometimes stretch for more than two hours. “But I just don’t have time for that, I am a busy person.”
Pelosi also said negotiations over additional funding for small business lending would be paused for the Easter holiday this coming weekend.
“We have put our marker down for a negotiation,” Pelosi said.
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