WASHINGTON — President Trump will meet with his economic advisers on Monday afternoon to review a range of options that could help companies and consumers deal with expected economic fallout from the coronavirus.
The meeting was scheduled as stock prices and Treasury yields plunged on Monday, amid rising fears about the virus’s spread and a decision by Saudi Arabia to increase oil production. That move sent oil prices spiraling downward, triggering concern among White House officials, who worry an oil shock could slam the brakes on investment and growth at a precarious moment.
The U.S. economy is already facing a slowdown as the coronavirus prompts quarantines, disrupts supply-chains and takes a bite out of consumer spending.
On Monday, Mr. Trump played down the economic threats from the virus and the oil market on Twitter, celebrating falling gasoline prices as “good for the consumer” while blaming the stock plunge on a combination of Saudi Arabia, Russia and “fake news.” He also suggested fears about the virus were overblown, saying more people have died from the flu than coronavirus and that “life & the economy go on.”
Alex M. Azar II, the Health and Human Services secretary, told reporters outside the White House on Monday that “the fundamentals in this economy are unbelievable” and that they “remain what they are.”
Other administration officials are privately more worried about the economic impact from the virus, which has spread throughout the United States. Mr. Trump’s advisers are expected to present a menu of stimulus options that would provide targeted and temporary relief to communities and industries impacted by the virus, according to two officials briefed on the plans.
A top recommendation will involve the federal government subsidizing the pay of workers who are forced off the job by quarantine or other effects of the virus, according to a senior official. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have said such a measure must be included in any economic stimulus bill that Congress passes in the days or weeks to come.
Advisers also expected to discuss an expansion of loans backed by the Small Business Association, aid from the Federal Emergency Relief Agency and deferrals on tax and loan payments. Help for people on safety net programs is also on the list of options being discussed.
Other measures under discussion would allow banks to reduce their capital requirements so that they can lend more easily. While administration official do not believe that a payroll tax cut would be sufficiently stimulative to an economy sagging from a highly contagious virus, they are generally willing to go along with any fiscal package that Congress can approve, one official said.
Another official said the recommendations could include measures to help domestic oil producers who could be forced to halt production, curtail investment and lay off workers because of the drop in oil prices.
Congressional leaders are weighing stimulus options of their own. On Monday morning, a senior Democratic aide said discussions were starting among House committee leaders, congressional Democrats and administration officials on what such a package might look like. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California was scheduled to meet with committee leaders to begin the discussion on Monday after the House finished its scheduled votes for the day.
A Senate Finance Committee spokesman, Michael Zona, said Monday that its Republican chairman, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, was “exploring the possibility of targeted tax relief measures that could provide a timely and effective response to the coronavirus.”
“Several options within the committee’s jurisdiction are being considered as we learn more about the effects on specific industries and the overall economy,” Mr. Zona said.
Ms. Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, released a joint statement on Sunday evening laying out their requests for any legislative package responding to the coronavirus. Their list included: