Trump Declares National Emergency Over COVID-19

Trump Declares National Emergency Over COVID-19

Trump Declares National Emergency Over COVID-19

It’s official – COVID-19 has necessitated a national emergency declaration, according to President Trump.

This was announced today at the White House, as the coronavirus task force, plus President Trump, assembled in the Rose Garden to give a press conference. C-SPAN carried the entirety of the press conference, which can be watched below.

Here are the highlights of what a national emergency declaration will mean now:
1) FEMA is being mobilized to help the states hardest hit.

The president’s declaration of a national emergency means that he will enact the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which allows the White House to mobilize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and direct federal aid to states hit by disasters and health crises.”

“I am officially declaring a national emergency — two very big words,” Trump continued. “The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion…and a large amount of money for states, territories and localities.”

He added: “We’ve been working very hard on this. We will overcome the threat of the virus.”

According to the latest FEMA report to Congress, which was transmitted Feb. 29, 2020, there is $42.6 billion in the Disaster Relief Fund, which can be tapped under a Stafford Act declaration.”

2) Hospitals will move to use “emergency preparedness plans.”
HHS Secretary Alex Azar will now have the ability to waive certain requirements to allow hospitals help more patients.

The president said that Azar will have the ability to enable “telehealth” for remote doctor visits and hospital check-ins, and the ability to waive hospital stay limits, as well as obtain additional office and hospital space.

“They can now do as they want and do what they have to do, they know what they have to do now, they don’t have any problem getting it done,” Trump said.

3) Student loan interest will be waived indefinitely.
President Trump announced that he wants all interest on student loans to be waived while in order to help out those who are unable to work and make payment on college loans. This would only apply to federal student loans, not private ones.

4) The government bought crude oil for the oil reserves.

“Based on the price of oil, I’ve also instructed the Secretary of Energy to purchase at a very good price large quantities of crude oil for storage in the U.S. strategic reserve,” Trump said.”

“We’re going to fill it right up to the top, saving the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry [and furthering] that wonderful goal — which we’ve achieved, which nobody thought was possible — of energy independence,” he added.”

So, what was the immediate response to all of this news? Well, the markets rebounded.

This is good news, since the roller coaster that the markets have been on was pretty steep. (Those who are able to buy now are sure to see it pay off in the long run.)

All in all, the reaction was fairly positive to today’s press conference and the declaration of a national emergency. It was much better messaging than the Oval Office address, and overall projected much more competence in how the federal government is moving to cope with the crisis, as well as showing its flexibility in working with private companies to better get a handle on the situation.

Now, there will always be dumb haters who will whine about things that are beyond stupid at a moment like this.

We all need to take a deep breath, wash our hands, and then breathe out. Repeat all three steps often. I know that I am as the news broke at almost the same time as the Trump press conference that Washington state is closing all K-12 schools statewide, public and private, through April 24th.

The federal government is taking this situation very seriously. State governments are as well. Let’s remember to support our local communities as best as we can right now, knowing that we are living through extraordinary times.

Featured image: President Trump, taken during national address on March 11, 2020 (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian, cropped, public domain)

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