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U.S. Lawmakers Agree on Historic $2 Trillion Stimulus Deal; World Markets React to U.S. Stimulus Package; Trump Wants U.S. Economy Re-Opened By Easter; London Mayor Criticized Over Packed Tube Trains. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 25, 2020 - 04:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and, of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

And we begin with this breaking news. After days of bargaining and negotiations, U.S. senators and the White House have reached a deal on the biggest economic stimulus package in U.S. history -- more than $2 trillion to revive the U.S. economy struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans and Democrats came together to shake hands on a plan that would provide aid to hospitals, loans to small businesses, and checks to American workers.

The Senate leaders are both parties comparing this to a wartime situation.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It will rush new resources onto the frontlines of our nation's health care fight, and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help American workers, families, small businesses, and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar. In effect, this is a wartime level of investment into our nation. The men and women of the greatest country on earth are going to defeat this coronavirus and reclaim our future. And the Senate is going to make sure they have the ammunition they need to do it. I'm thrilled that we're finally going to deliver for the country that has been waiting for us to step up.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): From the very beginning, Democrats have had two primary goals, a Marshall Plan for public health workers and hospitals on the front lines and putting workers first. The agreement now, after these five days, reflects those Democratic priorities, and we are proud that they are now part of this legislation. Like all compromises, this bill is far from perfect. But we believe the legislation has been improved significantly to warrant its quick consideration and passage because many Democrats and Republicans were willing to do the serious and hard work, the bill is much better off than where it started.


CHURCH: And CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins us now from Washington.

Suzanne, this took longer than most people wanted, but it's exactly what American businesses and U.S. and global markets have been waiting for.

What all are we learning about what's in this stimulus package?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Good morning, Rosemary.

Yes, we were told we were in the red zone, five-yard line, two-yard line. It took another two hours before we finally crossed the finish line. I have to give a shout-out to the team, Christ and Ted and Manu, who all were here into the hours of the night. It was just before 1:00 this was announced, the $2 trillion package. And we do have some of the details, we don't have the final text, but we do know that at least $500 billion is going to be loans for distressed companies, $350 billion for small businesses. And then a significant portion, $250 billion for direct payments to individual and families.

And how does that break down? About $1,200 for folks earning up to $75,000, and $2,400 for a married couple earning up to $150,000 with another $500 per child. And, Rosemary, you are probably wondering what took so long here, because, you know, it was yesterday that we kept hearing it was imminent.

But there were some sticking points. I mean, there's huge amounts, $500 billion for businesses. Democrats were saying, whoa, where is the oversight in all of this. And the administration came around, created an oversight board. An inspector general position tracked the money to figure out where that's going. And Democrats also got some of the money they wanted for those hospitals in desperate need of funds and really in a crisis situation. And funds for state and local governments that are really seeing their coffers depleted at this point.

And so both sides seem to be happy. This is a bill that is enormous and historic, as you mentioned. When it's all said and done, printed out, it's going to probably be more than 1,000 pages. We have never seen this kind of really economic boost financial aid package in the history, in American history, for bringing our economy back and really trying to recover, because much of it is shut down, and we have no idea how long this is going to last.

There are members of Congress who believe they might have to come back and do this again.


That this is not going to be enough to fix all the problems.

Now, of course, what is going to happen later today, we are going to have the Senate reconvene at noon. We don't have an exact time for the vote. But that will happen today, we are told. And the question then becomes how quickly can it pass on the House side?

Well, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday, she was on the Capitol. We all saw her. She made the rounds and talked to all of us. She brought her daughter and her grandchildren as she was working yesterday.

And so, she's quite comfortable in the Capitol. But there are a number of members -- senators who have been there all week who are not comfortable being in that building.


MALVEAUX: They feel there have been a number of members who tested positive and many who self-quarantined. They want to get back to their home states, their districts. And so, they want a vote quickly.

Pelosi has said she does not want to bring the House members back from recess for a vote as was originally the plan. And so she's hoping to pass it through unanimous consent. And that would not require all of the members to come back. Simply a vote by unanimous consent as long as nobody objects.

CHURCH: Right.

MALVEAUX: And so, that is the goal for today. And we'll see how it plays out.


MALVEAUX: But this was a very intricate and intense process and clearly emotional, as many of these members of Congress really are feeling the impact, their districts, their families, their loved ones as well because of the virus. .

CHURCH: Yes. It's been quite the journey. They have made the deal. Once it is voted upon, then President Trump signs off on it.

But the big question for Americans who are watching right now and for doctors across this country and nurses and other medical workers, how soon will Americans get those checks and how soon will we see some of those resources getting to these hospitals that are just screaming out for some sort of help in this protective gear?

MALVEAUX: That's absolutely right. And they are saying this would happen very quickly, in short order. But, of course, you have got to get this signed, get the paperwork done, get it to the president's desk.

And once that happens, the hope is that at least through the administrative processes, some of the pipelines you are seeing on the task force, you will be able to get these funds to the various administrations and agencies that need it the most and the fastest.

CHURCH: It is all very encouraging news. Suzanne Malveaux joining us on the phone. Good to talk to you, joining us from Washington. MALVEAUX: Thank you, Rosemary. It's a pleasure.

CHURCH: It's great, great to talk to you.

And John Defterios has been following the market reaction to this stimulus package. He joins me from Abu Dhabi.

And everyone has been waiting for this. Now comes this agreement on the $2 trillion stimulus package. And it's put a bounce in everybody's step. But talk to us about the numbers you're seeing and what we can expect when U.S. markets open in just a matter of hours from now.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes. Well, Rosemary, confidence is being restored. Financial markets have been battered for the last month.

It was the best trading day in Asia in 10 years since the global financial markets, the best performance on Wall Street overnight since the Great Recession. So it's having some influence.

And after the package was finalized, you saw another leg up, if you will, for the stock markets in Asia. This is being reflected in European trading in the first 10 minutes here. The FTSE 100 is up 2 percent. Paris CAC is up 2.5 percent.

So, we are seeing some pretty decent gains. Frankfurt is up about 3 percent.

There was no real surprised whether the deal would get signed at the end of the day because the pressure was on the Congress and the White House to come up with something. Two trillion dollars is about 10 percent of GDP. It is substantial.

We have to remind our viewers here that 85 percent of the business in the United States is small and medium sized enterprises. So, this will help, those loans into the system, helping the very distressed sectors, of course, like the airline and hospitality sector, direct checks to Americans and the healthcare system, of course, all extremely important.

There's going to be a huge, healthy debate here about this timeline that Donald Trump wants to adhere to in mid-April and whether indeed we can see Americans going back to work. That is a huge question mark going forward. But if you take a step back, Rosemary, it does tell us what here, the big five trading blocs of the world, from Asia to the United States have stepped up in a record way, providing the liquidity.

And I would like to put it this way. $2 trillion for Main Street, if you will, and the general economy, and what Lawrence Kudlow, the chief economic adviser, said to us, is that it's $4 trillion in the banking system for liquidity, for the bond market, for international trade of the U.S. dollar.


It is substantial. That's why we see the record jumps in Asia. It will carry through to Wall Street today from what we can see right now.

CHURCH: Yes, all very encouraging. And as we have been saying, this is exactly what people wanted. It was much anticipated. But will it allay fears of a recession? That is the big question.

DEFTERIOS: Well, I don't think, Rosemary, anybody can be lulled into complacency. I think about the challenge to Donald Trump and the question mark for the United States, should they be rushing back to get the wheels of commerce moving again? But there is no activity, whether it's here in the UAE all the way to the United States. No flights. No tourism taking place. No consumer spending.

So this will have a very profound impact from the International Monetary Fund to the leading economists on Wall Street, the city of London or in Asia that's suggesting a drop of 12 percent to 25 percent. The U.S. economy alone in the second quarter.

What the stimulus will do, in my view, here is that it will buffer the third quarter all the way through September. And it could kind of dampen that downturn, if you will, in that third quarter, which is strategically important. We have to think about, though, economies in India and Brazil that are on the front line here going forward. And they don't have the assets of the United States or the G7 countries.

CHURCH: Yes. Interesting. Good point there.

John Defterios, joining us live from Abu Dhabi, many thanks to you. Appreciate it.

Well, meantime, President Donald Trump wants the U.S. economy reopened in less than three weeks. On Tuesday, he talked about the light at the end of the tunnel. But his optimism is not in sync with that of his medical advisers who say the battle against the coronavirus has only just begun.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope we can do this by Easter. I think that would be a great thing for our country.

REPORTER: Who suggested --

TRUMP: It is a beautiful time. It's a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATOINAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You can look at a date, but you have to be very flexible on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis. You need to evaluate the feasibility.

And, John, you asked what kind of metrics, what kind of data. When you look at the country, obviously no one is going to want to tone down things when you see what's going on in a place like New York City. I mean, that's just, you know, good public health practice and common sense.


CHURCH: And look at those numbers, because right now there are more than 53,000 coronavirus cases in the United States. Of those, about 26,000 cases are in New York.

The World Health Organization says the U.S. could be the next epicenter of the pandemic. And New York's governor is echoing that warning.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We are just a test case. Where we are today, you will be in three weeks or four weeks or five weeks or six weeks. We are your future.


CHURCH: And at least 200 people have died in New York so far.

It is just after 8:00 a.m. in London. In normal times, it would be the middle of a hectic rush hour. But these are not normal times. And instead today is a test of whether Boris Johnson's stay-at-home order is working.

And it comes after pictures on Tuesday like this led to a row between the government and London's mayor over how many trains are running. The government has sent a text message to members of the public reminding them of the new rules.

So let's go live to London and CNN's Anna Stewart.

Anna, it is difficult. When you look at those pictures, you do have to wonder. And London's mayor is saying one thing and Britain's government is saying another. So talk to us about where the confusion here is and the mixed messages it's sending to those people who are essential, who have to get to their various jobs.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The video yesterday morning was pretty shocking. Clearly, no social distancing was possible for those people trying to get into London.

Now, there has been some confusion here. On the first issue is the tubes and the capacity they are currently running. The health minister says tubes should be running a normal service. Currently, only 55 percent of tubes are running.

The London mayor, as you said, had a difference of opinion here. He said, actually, they're working at maximum capacity. A third of workers are unable to work on the tubes right now. So that's a problem.

There is also the issue are all those people on that tube essential workers? There has been some confusion as to what essential means. Does it include construction workers if they are not constructing a hospital or something essential to coronavirus?

So, we do expect to see more updates. We will see what the transport situation is this morning.


If it's still incredibly busy and people aren't able to social distance, I would expect the government to come up with other measures either to increase capacity by employing more people for the tube or perhaps finding alternative options for transport -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, very important.

And I do want to ask you about some of these preparations that are underway across Britain to ensure enough hospital beds are available, as well as medical staff and equipment. What is the latest on that?

STEWART: Well, some extraordinary measures in the last 24 hours actually. One is the ExCel Center, a huge exhibition center in the London docklands area. That will be transformed into a field hospital next week. It will be able to cater for up to 4,000 patients. It will, of course, be looked after by NHS staff but also by the army, who are already stepping in and helping with supplies and so on and so forth.

Also, Rosemary, a quarter of a million volunteers are needed. That's what the government said yesterday. They want young or healthy non-at- risk people to call up and volunteer their time to help, particularly with those who are shielded from the virus, those who are risk, the elderly, those with preexisting conditions, and are stuck at home.

Volunteers needed to help give them medicine, food supplies, and also just to keep them chatting, keep socializing. We expect that to be taken up readily, particularly given that so many NHS workers who have retired have answered the call, 12,000 people returning to the NHS or have applied to, including my own father, who is 64 and has said he will return if needed.

CHURCH: I am so impressed. They are so much our heroes, all the medical workers. Not only there across Britain but across the globe. They are in the front line.

Many thanks to you. Anna Stewart joining us live from London. Appreciate it.

Well, the sign outside says ice palace, a place where kids and families once enjoyed skating around the rink. But it is serving a grim, new purpose in the age of coronavirus.

We'll be back with that in just a moment.



CHURCH: I just want to update you on our breaking news. Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on the $2 trillion emergency stimulus to jump-start the economy, which has been devastated by the coronavirus. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the president will absolutely

sign the measure as soon as it reaches his desk. We'll have more details for you in just a moment.

I want to turn now to the growing coronavirus crisis in Italy. The country is reporting more than 6,800 deaths due to the virus. That is the highest death toll in the world.

CNN's Delia Gallagher joins us now from Rome.

Good to see, you, Delia.

The numbers are shocking. But there appears to be a glimmer of hope in the small Italian town where this outbreak began. What more are you learning about that?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Rosemary. The town of Codogno in northern Italy, which was the first to report a cluster of cases and has been on lockdown since the end of February yesterday reported zero new cases of the virus and indeed countrywide, Italy has seen its third consecutive day of a decrease in the number of positive new cases.

Of course this doesn't mean anyone should be letting their guard down. Health authorities here are really trying to get the message across that it is more important than ever to be vigilant.

Take a look at how some of Italy's mayors are trying to get that message across.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): Italy is enforcing one of Europe's strictest lockdowns. No one is allowed outside unless it's for an essential reason. But not everyone is sticking to the rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Ping pong is not allowed. Go home and play on the PlayStation. You cannot stay here.

GALLAGHER: The mayor of the southern city of Bari is not in the mood for excuses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Don't look at me like that. You should be respectful. There is a decree.

I'm the mayor of this city. And as the mayor of this city, I will make everyone respect this decree. Go home now. The police is coming.

GALLAGHER: He's one of several officials mainly in southern Italy who have taken to social media to cajole or even threaten their citizens to comply with restrictions.

MASSIMILIANO PRESCIUTTI, MAYOR OF GUALDO TADINO, ITALY (through translator): This is like a war bulletin because we are in a real war. And now I turn to you. You need to stay home. Can you understand that people are dying? VINCENZO DE LUCA, PRESIDNENT OF CAMPANIA (through translator):

Hundreds of students will be graduating soon. I hear that some want to house a party. We will send the police and we will send them with flame throwers.

GALLAGHER: The majority of Italians are taking the lockdown seriously. But over 92,000 of them were reported for breaking the emergency restrictions.

GIANFILIPPO BANCHERI, MAYOR OF DELIA, ITALY (through translator): How is it going to be OK with people lining up to buy fuel? What is the fuel for if you have to stay at home? How is it going to be OK if people are asking for their hair to be done at home? Hairdressers are coming to home. What a hairstyle for at this moment?

GALLAGHER: There are some concessions for going out, for example, to walk a dog. But mayors are cracking down on those they think are exploiting this.

GIUSEPPE FALCOMATA, MAYOR OF REGGIO CALABRIA, ITALY: This morning, I came across a citizen jogging with his dog that was visibly exhausted. I said to him, hey, this is not a film and you're not Will Smith in "I Am Legend." Therefore, go home.

GALLAGHER: With the coronavirus outbreak in Italy now the deadliest in the world, authorities want to leave no doubt about what's at stake.

DE LUCA: And if we go on like this, we will just be counting the dead. We won't have hospital spaces for your fathers and mothers. Is that clear?

GALLAGHER: A direct message these officials hope will hit home.


GALLAGHER: And, Rosemary, the prime minister announced just last night new fines for anybody violating the lockdown from 400 euros to 3,000 euros and even jail time for anybody who is positive for the virus and violates the quarantine -- Rosemary.


CHURCH: Yes, and a bit of scolding right across the globe because it's not only in Italy. A lot of people everywhere not getting this message loud and clear. So, hopefully, they will in the days ahead.

Delia Gallagher bringing us the very latest from Rome -- many thanks.

Well, Spain one of the countries hit hardest by this pandemic is asking NATO for help he fighting COVID-19. The government says more than 13 percent of its confirmed cases are medical workers.

CNN's Scott McLean reports on how the country is trying to keep up with the surge of infections.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The largest hospital in Madrid right now is actually not a hospital. It is a convention center that can fit some 5,000 coronavirus patients.

And surely one of the largest morgues in the city is not actually a morgue. It is this ice rink which is now housing the bodies of the many hundreds of dead arriving every day. The bodies are coming here because the state-run funeral service is no longer collecting the bodies of coronavirus patients because they don't have the proper protective equipment. So, instead, the military is doing that job.

The lack of protective equipment also extends to health care workers who account for more than one in every eight confirmed coronavirus cases in this country. That is a higher rate than Italy, and more than three times the rate of China.

There are also concerns about nursing homes. One in every five Madrid nursing homes has an infection of the coronavirus. In fact, the military has found dead bodies inside those nursing homes when they have gone in to disinfect. The Spanish parliament will vote on an extension of the state of emergency in Spain on Wednesday, which would mean Spaniards continue to be home bound until April the 11th.

Scott McLean, CNN, Madrid.


CHURCH: Just ahead, details on the $2 trillion stimulus package heading to the White House and what it means for Americans hit hard in the wallet by the coronavirus.

Back with that in just a moment.