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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump's Tuesday meeting with Senate Republicans on providing economic relief in response to the coronavirus was chaotic and covered a wide range of ideas, leaving many senators unclear on how the government will deal with growing fears that the U.S. is headed for a recession.

Why it matters: Trump and top White House officials left the meeting with no specific policy proposals to implement at time when the economic and public health impacts of virus are worsening by the hour.

What they're saying: Senate Republicans emerged from Tuesday's lunch and told reporters that they discussed "a menu of tools" in the government's arsenal for how to help stem the negative impacts of the virus on the economy, but said they remained far apart on specific solutions.

  • "If the administration has decided on the specific tools they didn't share that with us," Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said. "It's clear the administration is seriously considering a fiscal stimulus. What that will be I don't think anybody's decided yet. You'll not be surprised to learn that senators had plenty of suggestions, particularly when it comes to spending money."
  • "[Trump's] a big, big supporter of a big payroll tax reduction" that would extend over the next several months, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said. "Obama did a payroll tax, I'm not sure how well that worked. I think this president is kind of planning something more dramatic than that."
  • Johnson added that different senators have different ideas, with some floating a permanent payroll tax cut. "But as a deficit hawk, realizing these programs are already underfunded, I mean, I would scratch my head going, how's that gonna work?" he added.

Several senators said the idea of implementing an infrastructure package was a central theme of the discussions, with the goal of providing more well-paying jobs to workers in need. But, similar to previous attempts of passing an infrastructure bill, there are disagreements on how to fund it.

  • "I brought up the infrastructure which I've talked about before," Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said. "Trump's been through this before. We gotta say how we can pay for it."

Meeting attendees: Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro were all present.

  • Mnuchin later met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but left that meeting with little to say.
  • "I wouldn't say it's negotiations," Mnuchin told reporters. "We're having discussions about various different policies. ... There's a lot of interest in a bipartisan basis to get something done quickly."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.