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Trump wants payroll tax relief to calm financial markets

Trump grapples with public health and economic maelstrom of coronavirus
Posted at 2:30 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 18:59:20-04

American political leaders are grappling with a public health and economic maelstrom — as well as concerns for their own safety.

President Donald Trump says his administration will ask Congress to pass payroll tax relief, as he looks to calm financial markets' fears over the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic. Trump told reporters Monday that the administration was seeking “very substantial relief."

This, as fears about the coronavirus outbreak roil financial markets. The White House says it's conducting “business as usual,” playing down the political consequences of an epidemic that poses one of the greatest tests yet to Trump's administration.

On Capitol Hill, at least five lawmakers are in self-quarantine as discussions continue on how to address the virus outbreak and economic volatility. Trump lashed out in tweets Monday, protesting the steep market drop and news that large public gatherings are being called off because of the virus.

The current estimate of cases is around 650, with 26 coronavirus-related deaths.