President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeehery: Mulvaney fit for Northern Ireland postPress: Bernie Sanders has already wonThe Hill’s Morning Report – Can Trump, Congress agree on coronavirus package?MORE and Senate Republicans held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the administrations response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has stunned the United States and roiled financial markets.
Trump only met with GOP lawmakers, a surprising decision given that some of the states hardest hit by the health crisis, such as California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, are represented entirely by Democrats in the Senate.
Past crises, such as the Sept. 11,2001, attacks and the 2008 financial crisis, have brought the parties together on Capitol Hill, but this time has been different.
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCongress debating ways to help boost economy hit by coronavirusBullock announces run for Montana Senate seatSchumer, Gillibrand call for fewer federal restrictions on coronavirus testing in New YorkMORE (D-N.Y.) has routinely attacked what he calls the administrations incompetence, while relations between Trump and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill’s Morning Report – Can Trump, Congress agree on coronavirus package?Sinking stock market poses risk for retireesPelosi says plan for Round 2 of coronavirus relief could arrive as early as this weekMORE (D-Calif.) remain frosty after their bruising impeachment fight that spilled into the State of the Union address. 
The president and his Capitol Hill allies discussed a wide-ranging menu of policy options to keep the economy from running off the rails, a danger that seemed very real on Monday when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 2,000 points in the greatest one-day plunge since the 2008 financial crisis. Trump made clear his top priority is a payroll tax cut that would last until the end of the year. He floated the idea of zeroing out the payroll tax altogether until after the Nov. 3 election, but going that far is likely to spark pushback from Democrats.
The biggest one would clearly be the payroll tax, said a GOP senator who spoke on background. The questions are what size would it be, whether it would apply to both [employers and workers] and how you replace the money in the Social Security fund.
Congress last extended a payroll tax cut package in 2012 during the Obama administration. While the bill attracted broad bipartisan support, some liberals and conservatives rejected it including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPress: Bernie Sanders has already wonThe Hill’s Morning Report – Can Trump, Congress agree on coronavirus package?Biden ready for big wins on TuesdayMORE (I-Vt.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump, GOP scramble to keep economy from derailingLeaders tamp down talk of closing Capitol, changing schedule over coronavirusOvernight Energy: Senate energy bill stalled amid amendment fight | Coronavirus, oil prices drive market meltdown | Green groups say Dem climate plan doesn’t go far enoughMORE (R-S.D.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill’s Morning Report – US urges calm over coronavirus; Italy on lockdownThis week: Surveillance, travel ban fights play out amid growing coronavirus concernsRand Paul looms as wild card in surveillance fightMORE (R-Ky.). 
The president and GOP lawmakers on Tuesday discussed paid leave for people who miss work because of the virus, small-business loans for impacted employers, extending the federal tax filing deadline beyond April 15 and infrastructure spending to generate more jobs, according to lawmakers who attended.
I think the president recognizes this is an extraordinary situation that may require extraordinary measures and I think hell get a great deal of support from the conference as a result, said Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRon Johnson vows to force Burisma-related subpoena vote amid Dem oppositionThis week: Surveillance, travel ban fights play out amid growing coronavirus concernsDemocratic senator requests classified briefing ahead of Burisma-related subpoena voteMORE (R-Wis.).
They also talked about a financial rescue package for the hard-hit airline and cruise ship industries, as well as putting some pressure on Saudi Arabia to reconsider a ramp-up in oil production that caused oil prices to plummet 24 percent on Monday.
Trump told GOP senators that he had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about stabilizing oil prices, according to Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump, GOP scramble to keep economy from derailingLeaders tamp down talk of closing Capitol, changing schedule over coronavirusGOP senator backs paid leave, payroll tax cut amid coronavirus concernsMORE (R-Texas), who represents a major oil-producing state.
Trumps participation caught lawmakers by surprise. They had expected to hear only from Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill’s Morning Report – Can Trump, Congress agree on coronavirus package?Trump, GOP scramble to keep economy from derailingTrump pitches tax cut to ease panicMORE and National Economic Council Director Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE. But the White House announced late Tuesday morning that the president would also join senators at the Capitol, a sign that the swift-moving crisis has become Trumps No. 1 priority.
Trump has come under sharp attack from Democrats for not taking a more aggressive approach to combating the virus once it became apparent that it would reach American shores.
Some Republicans, such as Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRon Johnson vows to force Burisma-related subpoena vote amid Dem oppositionThis week: Surveillance, travel ban fights play out amid growing coronavirus concernsTrump sets up for bruising campaign against BidenMORE (Utah) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), early on expressed skepticism over the administrations handling of the health crisis, but those internal criticisms have died down as the administration has ratcheted up its response, holding daily briefings led by Vice President Pence.
The president said nothing to Romney, who voted last month with Democrats to remove Trump from office on the charge of abuse of power, according to lawmakers in the room.
Trump didnt get any pushback from the GOP caucus over his handling of the crisis, but lawmakers had a couple of suggestions.
Republican senators urged the president to get Anthony Fauci, a senior infectious disease expert, more involved as the face of the federal response to the coronavirus, according to lawmakers who attended the meeting. Fauci was appointed as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984 and has advised six presidents on a variety of domestic and global health issues. 
That was suggested because he has credibility, said one Republican senator who attended the meeting. He speaks with authority, he has respect in the medical community. Thats what the suggestion was, because this is a medical thing. Its not a political crisis though we can make one out of it.
Trump left some of his GOP allies cringing when he declared at a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that he might have a natural ability to deal with the complex health crisis because his uncle was a super genius who taught at MIT.
A Senate Republican aide said, People want [Fauci] to be front and center.
Some Democrats on Tuesday continued to hammer the administration for not acting aggressively enough.
We are now far behind where we ought to be in understanding how far the virus has already spread, Schumer said on the Senate floor. The United States has the best hospitals, doctors and scientists in the world. Yet, currently we are lagging far behind other countries when it comes to testing our citizens.
Republicans also acknowledge they will need Democratic support to pass a fiscal stimulus package.
I think they view it as something they would want to move fairly quickly, once they have a proposal. … [But] ultimately youre going to have Democratic buy-in for whatever comes out, Thune said. 
Pence on Tuesday updated GOP senators on the production and distribution of testing kits that have been in short supply in recent weeks, a point that Democrats have repeatedly hit when lambasting the administrations response.
Senators said that the administration plans to have 4 million testing kits distributed by the end of the week.
Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonLawmakers look for 5G competitors to HuaweiNikki Haley expected to endorse Loeffler in Senate raceTom Cotton wins uncontested GOP Senate primaryMORE (R-Ark.) made a strong pitch at the meeting for a bill sponsored by Sen. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerNikki Haley expected to endorse Loeffler in Senate raceHouse Freedom Caucus chairman endorses Collins’s Georgia Senate bidLoeffler works to gain traction with conservatives amid Collins primary bidMORE (R-Neb.) that would give the manufacturers of industrial respirators immunity from prospective lawsuits so they could mass-produce masks for health care providers.
The measure would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to grant limited liability protection to manufacturers of countermeasures, such as respirators, during an outbreak or epidemic. Cotton later said Trump endorsed the idea at the meeting.
Jordain Carney contributed.