Highlights from today’s Coronavirus Task Force press conference and The House’s $104 billion aid package
On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he would invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA), allowing the administration to force American industry personnel to manufacture medical supplies necessary in the fight against the Wuhan Coronavirus, “just in case we need it.”
Medical workers across the country have reported a shortage of supplies such as gloves, masks and other protective gear, putting many health care workers at high risk of contracting the Wuhan Coronavirus. According to The Hill: “Hundreds of workers have already been quarantined across the country after coming into contact with the coronavirus. If protective equipment is used up without being replaced, that situation could become more widespread as the coronavirus outbreak worsens in the coming days and weeks.”
Trump has already deployed two “hospital ships,” upon request. One ship is on its way to New York, and the other will be headed towards an undecided West Coast destination “shortly.”
President Trump announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is “providing relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.”
As reported by CNN, this suspension will apply to single-family households with FHA-insured mortgages.
The Senate cleared a $104 billion aid package to help those Americans who have been negatively affected by the financial ramifications of the Wuhan Coronavirus. The package allows for sick leave up to 10 days, 12 weeks of family leave and free Coronavirus testing for those who need it. President Trump is expected to sign quickly.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the Senate rejected three amendments to the bill before passing it. As the Examiner reported, one amendment proposed to offset the costs by ending U.S. involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2020; the second proposed that the government would cover small businesses to provide paid sick leave; and the third replaced sick leave with expanded unemployment insurance.
Though this bill will add pressure to small businesses across the country that are already struggling due to the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, Republicans say this issue will be addressed in the next stimulus package, which is estimated to cost upwards of $1 trillion.