March 25 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Ivana Kottasová and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:34 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020
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12:51 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Trump still pushing to send checks to Americans by April 6 despite warnings it could take longer

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Katherine Lobosco

President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin are still pushing for an April 6 deadline of having direct payments issued to taxpayers who make less than a certain threshold, a White House official tells CNN, though lawmakers and Internal Revenue Service experts are warning it could take much longer than that.

Americans with direct-deposit bank account information on file with the IRS from tax refunds are expected to receive checks that way, according to aides, while those who don't will likely get a physical check in the mail, which could also take much longer. 

The IRS has sent out economic stimulus checks before, and although those plans were slightly different, they can offer some insight into how long the process might take.

In 2001, it took six weeks for the IRS to start sending out rebate checks authorized by President George W. Bush's tax cut. Then in 2008, amid the Great Recession, it took three months for the checks to start going out after the law was signed by Bush.

12:44 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Stimulus bill includes money for the shuttered Peace Corps

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

The stimulus bill includes $88 million for the Peace Corps, an independent US government agency that sends American volunteers abroad, according to a draft obtained by CNN. 

But the organization suspended all operations last week and evacuated its volunteers. Its director said operations will return to normal “when conditions permit.”

The Peace Corps’ budget was $410 million in the 2019 fiscal year, according to its website. So the additional stimulus funds, which is about 20% of their annual budget, would be a significant boost.

12:47 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Senate stimulus bill prohibits funds from going to Trump businesses

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Kirby Lee via AP/FILE
Kirby Lee via AP/FILE

The stimulus legislation prohibits federally elected officials and their immediate relatives from obtaining funds from the Treasury Secretary’s $500 billion program, according to a draft copy of the bill text.

The legislation includes a prohibition on distributing funds to businesses that are owned or partly owned by “the President, the Vice President, the head of an Executive department, or a Member of Congress; and the spouse, child, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law.” The legislation says that it applies to anyone with a 20% or greater stake in a business.

This was a key provision for Democrats concerned that Trump would provide funds to his personal businesses in the stimulus package.

12:42 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Your stimulus bill questions, answered

Do you have a question about the US stimulus plan?

Ask it here — we'll be answering some of your questions throughout the day.

12:41 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Senate stimulus bill will create a congressional oversight commission

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

The stimulus bill creates a congressional oversight commission to monitor the way the Trump administration is handling the $500 billion program for providing loans, investments and liquidity to businesses, according to a draft of the bill.

The legislation says the commission will provide oversight for both the Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stabilize the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including how the loans and investments have helped the “financial well-being of people in the United States,” the “extent to which the information made available on transactions under this subtitle has contributed to market transparency,” and whether the loans and investments minimized the long-term costs to taxpayers.

How does it work: The bill creates a five-member commission: the House speaker and minority leader and Senate majority and minority leaders each will appoint one member, and the chair will be appointed by both the House speaker and Senate majority leader.

The commission is tasked with issuing reports every 30 days after the program begins. It’s given the power to hold hearings and take testimony. It is scheduled to continue through September 2025. 

12:44 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Uber drivers and Amazon workers could get relief in the Senate's $2 trillion aid package

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Independent contractors and so-called “gig” workers will be eligible to receive federal aid under the $2 trillion emergency package being considered by the US Senate, according to a CNN review of the document

The language in the draft bill could provide additional certainty to millions of part-time workers who drive for Uber or deliver for Amazon, in what has become a major part of the digital economy. 

The provisions are responsive to requests by tech execs including Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who this week wrote to President Trump asking for economic support for Uber drivers. 

“My goal in writing to you is not to ask for a bailout for Uber, but rather for support for independent contractors and, once we move past the immediate crisis, the opportunity to legally provide them with a real safety net going forward,” Khosrowshahi wrote.

Gig economy businesses such as Uber have battled fiercely at the state level, especially in California, to avoid having to classify their drivers as employees who would be eligible for corporate benefits. 

The draft bill is not yet final.


12:36 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

There are now over 60,000 coronavirus cases in the US

From CNN's Amanda Watts

There are at least 60,050 cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems.

At least 807 people have died.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

12:31 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Eight-month-old baby among new coronavirus cases in Uganda

From CNN's Samsom Ntale

An eight-month-old baby is among five new cases of Covid-19 Uganda reported on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 14 people that have tested positive in the country.

Uganda's Director General of Health Service Dr. Henry Mwebesa in a televised address said among the five new cases are two Chinese nationals who fled an institutional quarantine with four others.

They were found hiding in the West Nile region bordering eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, and will be later charged to court. authorities said.

The other confirmed cases include an eight-month-old whose father had traveled to Kenya the previous week as well as a 63-year-old who arrived in Uganda from Germany.

Another case had no travel history abroad but trades at the border with South Sudan, Mwebesa said.

Uganda has taken stringent steps to try to halt the spread of the virus in the country.

They were one of the first African countries to impose travel restrictions on its citizens and others traveling from 16 countries it said had a high number of cases of coronavirus, including the US and UK.

12:30 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

US Senate leader says they will "pass this historic relief package today"

From CNN's Clare Foran, Ted Barrett and Kristin Wilson

Senate TV
Senate TV

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on the Senate floor about next steps now that a stimulus deal has been reached.

“The Senate is going to stand together, act together and pass this historic relief package today," he said.

An exact time for the vote has not yet been scheduled and McConnell did not announce a time from the floor.

“Today the Senate will act to help the people of this country weather this storm,” he said “When our nation comes through this and takes flight again on the other side, it will be because American heroes won this fight. All the Senate can do is to give them the resources to do it and that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.”

After McConnell left the floor, CNN asked him when he will file the bill and when the Senate will vote on it. 

“We’ll be passing it some time today. We’ll let you know when," McConnell responded.