President Donald Trump said there are certain parts of the country that will not be ready to return to a semblance of normalcy when his administration’s 15-day guideline to stem the spread of the new coronavirus expires next week.
Trump, who issued his guidelines on March 16, said he will meet with Vice President Mike Pence, White House task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday or Tuesday to review data on the spread of the disease.
Trump in a letter to governors Thursday said that risk considerations based on geography would likely dictate the next round of guidelines from the federal government. The president has said he wants to broadly reopen the economy by Easter Sunday, April 12.
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Earlier Friday, the House of Representatives gave near-unanimous approval by voice vote after an impassioned session conducted along the social distancing guidelines imposed by the crisis. Many lawmakers sped to Washington to participate — their numbers swollen after a maverick Republican signaled he'd try to force a roll call vote — though dozens of others remained safely in their home districts.
The Senate passed the bill unanimously late Wednesday.
“The American people deserve a government-wide, visionary, evidence-based response to address these threats to their lives and their livelihood and they need it now,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The $2.2 trillion legislation will speed government payments of $1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work. Businesses big and small will get loans, grants and tax breaks. It will send unprecedented billions to states and local governments, and the nation's all but overwhelmed health care system.
Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram, Laurie Kellman and Darlene Superville of the Associated Press contributed to this report.