Trump Promises Full Power of the Federal Government for Global Coronavirus Epidemic
President Trump is utilizing his executive powers to take far-reaching measures in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus that is sweeping the globe. This outbreak, officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, caused the first federally mandated quarantine in the United States in more than 50 years. The White House has been busy brainstorming methods to limit the impact of the virus on both residents as well as the economy.
During a recent update that took place on March 11th, President Trump reiterated measures that have already been put into place which have had a positive impact in helping prevent the spread of the virus in the U.S. He also highlighted steps that are in the works for the near future.
At midnight on Friday, March 13th, Europe joined China and Iran on a list of regions with travel bans or restrictions due to the coronavirus. Travel to China, the original hub of the virus outbreak, has been restricted since February 6th. Iran was already under a travel ban, but additional restrictions were placed to include foreign nationals who had visited Iran the prior two weeks. Trump attributes these restrictions to America having far fewer cases of the virus than Europe, who did not invoke similar measures. Europe which is seeing widespread coronavirus cases, most notably in Italy.
Health Care Industry
President Trump recently met with leaders of the healthcare industry to address coronavirus concerns. As a result of these meetings, health care insurers agreed to cover, with no cost sharing, the costs of the tests to diagnose whether people have coronavirus. He has also worked to prevent surprise medical billing, requesting that costs be listed up-front. Price transparency and the clear disclosure of medical costs have been a priority for the Trump Administration preceding the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
Earlier in the year, President Trump signed an $8.3 billion funding bill to help the CDC and other government agencies. He is now using emergency authority to put several additional actions into place. These actions are designed to help individuals and businesses that are impacted by the coronavirus, as well as put money into the economy.
He is directing the Small Business Administration to provide funds to small businesses affected by the coronavirus. These funds will be provided in the form of low-interest loans. To fund this, he is requesting that Congress increase funding for the SBA Lending program to $50 billion.
This virus is increasing while the annual April 15th tax deadline is quickly approaching. President Trump is instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for three months for individuals or entities who are impacted by the coronavirus.
An additional emergency action that is being provided is financial relief for working Americans who have been affected by the virus. This is to assist individuals whether they have had to miss work due to having the virus themselves having to care for others with the virus, or dealing with quarantines and closures from the virus. Trump0 is requesting approval for additional funding from Congress to finance this protection.
Tension Between Party Lines
In an ideal world, this global epidemic would bring both political parties together in order to protect our great nation. The reality is that the rift between Democrats and the current administration has only gotten worse. Past encounters have ended on terse terms, with Republicans walking out of closed-door coronavirus briefings as Democrats continue to criticize the president and politicize the crisis. However, the one thing both parties have seemed to agree on is the need for additional funding to aid the country during this epidemic. Hopefully, this will result in the swift approval of the funds requested by Trump. It is still up in the air whether a national disaster will be declared, which would allow for the use of even more funds.
Schools and other organizations around the country are closing amid coronavirus concerns and many governments are limiting large gatherings but it remains to be seen just how severe of an impact this virus will have. Trump may have been recently exposed to the coronavirus himself when he met with the president of Brazil over the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The Brazilian president was confirmed as having coronavirus a short time later. Trump issued his oval office address concerning the coronavirus the following Wednesday. Hopefully, the leaders responsible for developing the plans to contain this virus won’t be among the next round of U.S. victims.
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