Some measure of bipartisanship returned to Washington as policymakers dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.
After the White House declared a national emergency March 13, the House of Representatives quickly followed by passing legislation to expand free testing, extend sick leave benefits and provide $1 billion in food aid to the most vulnerable populations. The package calls for paid sick days for workers impacted by the virus-related shutdown and three months of paid emergency leave, with some temporary tax credits for employers.
The legislation was a result of consultations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and was approved 363-40. The Senate, which recessed March 12, returned Monday to consider the package and possible additional measures.
Even as the House was scheduled to be in recess, House committees were expected to continue working on more measures to address the economic damage, including possible relief for hardest-hit industries. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee plans a hearing Wednesday on how the U.S. is responding to the crisis.
President Donald Trump also pledged $50 billion to help states and localities deal with the outbreak and instructed the Department of Energy to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The White House plans to update its coronavirus response Monday at 3:30 p.m. EDT, following calls with leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and U.S. governors.
The Supreme Court on Monday postponed oral arguments scheduled for the next two weeks. The justices will hold a regularly scheduled conference Friday, although some may participate remotely by telephone.