President Trump to declare national emergency to speed U.S. coronavirus response

President Donald Trump plans to declare a national emergency on Friday over the coronavirus outbreak, invoking the Stafford Act to deliver more federal aid for states and municipalities, Bloomberg News reports, citing “two people familiar with the matter.”

Jennifer Jacobs, Saleha Mohsin, and Jenny Leonard for Bloomberg News:

The president said he will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. in Washington. Trump spoke Friday with Emmanuel Macron, the French president tweeted, about the pandemic, and agreed to organize a video conference with world leaders on Monday to coordinate research efforts on a vaccine and treatments and work on how to respond to the economic fallout.

An emergency declaration would allow a state to request a 75% federal cost-share for expenses that include emergency workers, medical tests, medical supplies, vaccinations, security for medical facilities, and more, according to a letter Democrats sent the president earlier this week.

Only a few emergency declarations for public health threats have been made since the 1960s, and only two have targeted disease outbreaks, when President Bill Clinton in 2000 declared emergencies in New York and New Jersey in response to the West Nile Virus.

Adam Edelman, Peter Alexander, and Kristen Welker for NBC News:

President Donald Trump plans to declare a national emergency Friday to allow more direct relief to Americans affected by the coronavirus, two administration officials told NBC News.

The move could help open up tens of billions of dollars to help fight the rapidly spreading pandemic.

Trump had hinted Thursday that he was strongly considering taking emergency action, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he was thinking of invoking the Stafford Act to declare a national emergency.

“We have very strong emergency powers under the Stafford Act,” the president said during a bilateral meeting with the Irish prime minister. “I have it memorized, practically, as to the powers in that act. And if I need to do something, I’ll do it. I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about.”

Under the Stafford Act, an “infectious disease emergency declaration” by the president would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide disaster relief funding to state and local governments, as well as federal assistance to support the coronavirus response. The law allows the agency to circumvent legal barriers to more quickly distribute such aid.

MacDailyNews Take: Whatever it takes, including declaring a national emergency, to get a handle on this coronavirus ASAP! White House coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday morning that the crisis will last for at least a few more weeks and possibly up to two months.

Jennifer Smith for The Daily Mail:

In a series of interviews with Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, Fauci gave his bleak assessment of what is still to come.

‘It’s certainly going to get worse before it gets better…there’s no doubt we have not peaked yet,’ he said.

Asked directly if America was heading towards a complete shutdown like China and Italy, he would not rule it out.

‘I’m not sure we’re going to get to that.

‘I think that would be really rather dramatic, but I can tell you that all things are on the table.

‘We just have to respond as things evolve over the days and the weeks,’ he said.

MacDailyNews Note: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707) created the system in place today by which a presidential disaster declaration or an emergency declaration triggers financial and physical assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Act gives FEMA the responsibility for coordinating government-wide relief efforts. The Federal Response Plan includes contributions from 28 federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, such as the American Red Cross. It is named for Sen. Robert Stafford (in Senate 1971–89), who helped pass the law.

See also: Stocks surge as President Trump declares national emergency to speed U.S. coronavirus response — Friday, March 13, 2020 4:40 pm Eastern

26 Comments

    1. People like you, Hiram, as so very, very helpful. You’re perfect, with your 20-20 hindsight. Such a difficult feat! Thank you for providing such valuable input.

      We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus. We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe. We will not delay. I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people. I will always put the well-being of America first.

      If we are vigilant and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will, we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the united states. We have the best economy, the most advanced health care, and the most talented doctors, and best resources anywhere in the world.

      We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship, and unify together as one nation and one family.

      As history has proven time and time again, Americans always rise to the challenge and overcome adversity. our future remains brighter than anyone can imagine. Acting with compassion and love, we will heal the sick, care for those in need, help our fellow citizens, and emerge from this challenge stronger and more unified than ever before.

      God bless you and God bless America. Thank you. – President Trump, March 11, 2020

      1. Monday, Tweetie declared: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

        Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health and a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, was asked by a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday for a fact that would help Americans gauge the danger.

        “This is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” Fauci said. “I think that’s something that people can get their arms around and understand.” He also panned the national response effort.

        Only then did Tweetie change his messaging and go into full emergency mode. He unilaterally shut down the transatlantic aviation business — after 40 states have reported COVID-19 cases. Rather late to attempt to shut the door, don’t you think?

        Yale University neuroscientist M.J. Crockett, who studies human behaviour in events such as pandemics: “The response of the American government has been shameful.” “There are a lot of mixed messages.” “The absolute wrong messaging includes comparing the coronavirus to the ordinary flu, by insisting that the number of cases is low and saying that it’s been contained,” she said.

        Hospitals and experts across the nation are seeking test kits, and today’s press conference (finally!) reaffirmed that the president isn’t on the ball. The vague responses to obvious questions proves that this administration isn’t taking responsibility for anything. Typical.

          1. $50 billion in stimulus (the Mnuchin & Pelosi package) will do that.

            So digging debt is a good thing now. Do you take back all the bad things you said about past government stimulus? Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Moderate bottom-up stimulus to save lives is pretty good. Gross top-down stimulus that ends up only redecorating the multimillion dollar penthouses of Wall Street traders, not so much. Sounds like this belated aid package might be directed where it should have been two weeks ago.

            https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/03/13/trump-coronavirus-politics-25th-amendment-128701

            1. To truly believe that bank/government stimulus only decorates the penthouse of the rich is naïve and perhaps disingenuous. Do I like stimulus as it’s done? No, but without them it would effect far more than the rich person‘s penthouses.

              The overall health of the economy, as we know it, depends on those stimuli. No, I am in no way saying I like them or it’s the best way to proceed, but without, them the our world proceeding would be far from reality…as we now know it.

              The pill to change it is much too large to swallow for our country.

          2. Look again at the S&P500.

            After you clean your shorts, you’ll see that the bubble of the last 3 years has collapsed in less than a month and is still in freefall. It closed 12% down today. Experts say the bottom hasn’t been reached yet.

            From here through the end of the year, we will either test new lows or we will see a repeat of 2009 when the federal government relied on massive debt spending to backstop all the failing businesses. How does the strongest economy in the world ever shut down so fast? Government denial and then panic. Trump owns this one. It will be entertaining to see how his dotards spin this after spending the entire 2009-2015 recovery whining incessantly about the prior administration. The shoe is on the other foot.
            But socialism!
            But the media!
            But dementia!
            But nobody could have predicted the bubble popping!
            But Thatcher said!
            But Reagan had a crash too!
            But Pelosi didn’t let Trump push her around!
            But my facts are different!
            But Fox says what about that, and I hypocritically think that is not MSM!

            The excuses keep coming. None of them make sense.

            The US consumer and federal government are up to eyeballs in debt, it is now being socialized, as always. Nobody has a vaccine for this latest scare so the ride will be rocky. Owning AAPL isn’t much solace, it’s fallen 25% in a month. Good luck everyone.

        1. @ TruthDetector
          Stocks didn’t surge, they made a partial, and temporary, rebound after the disastrous crash partially caused by the lack of confidence the stock market has in Trumps lack of reputation for telling the truth. And in his inability for organizing anything.

    2. It’s all the fault of the evil press, enemy of the people. They made Trump do it. /s

      We are witnessing a classic case of unpreparedness and denial early prompting vain and unhelpful over-reaction later. Don’t worry, the bailouts are on the way. Those will be blamed on the blue team.

      1. Mike, once again, your twisted hatred of anyone not a TDS Socialist is readily apparent. The POTUS adjusted to updated info and increased the protection for Americans. Why does that bother you so? Will you ever become fair-minded, or just go away and solve all of the problems in your own country, GB, with your genius insights and brilliance?

        1. To anyone not blind to the current administration’s utter ineptitude and incompetence, it is a way, way later response than it should be. It won’t take too much time (for even the most partisan blind) to realize if it is too little, too late. I hope it is not. If Trump is responsible for all the good things in this country since elected (as so many of his supporters like to think), he has had more than enough time to fix any public health policy issues Obama is responsible for. As for any “Trump can’t fix everything” response, public health policies should have been at the very top of any list of public issues to fix. Instead he cut funding and agencies related to public health (it’s a matter of public record, so denying it is the same as proclaiming the earth is flat)… and, in typical Trump manner, canned competent, professional people (who didn’t agree with his views) from essential positions. Trying to blaming anything related to this on Obama or Dems (neither of which am I a fan of, btw) is ignoring reality. Saying so is basically admitting to being dumber than a bag of bricks. The Dems have no power and can’t get anything thru Congress without Republican help.

        2. What’s a TDS Socialist? Is that a new third political party you Americans need desperately?

          The funny thing about you Magats is that everything is couched in protection for your idol. Not principle, not fellow man, not simple ethics and decency. You will bend over and defend Donald no matter what. As an independent, I at least attempt to call it fairly. You label everything to the left of Trump “socialist” as if you knew what it meant. Socialist is the $50 billion in taxpayer money that Trump will dole out as he sees fit. Socialist is the administration picking and choosing winners and losers of tariffs & exemptions. Socialist is doling out money to certain farmers when bad trade policy distorts the free market on which Americans rely. Socialism is increasing military budgets at a time when, supposedly for cost savings, the USA is in retreat (or do you prefer the less confrontational term “pull out”?) across the Middle East. Socialist is when government officials use for-profit private clubs from which to conduct official government business — no, maybe that could be classified as crony capitalism. It’s harder to tell the difference these days.

          Your president is worse than an idiot, he’s an arrogant self-serving liar with a long objective track record to prove it. Hence he will never be able to deliver the best solutions for the greatest majority of citizens for the longest possible time. He’s a short-term selfish transactional thinker in all he does. He does not uphold hardly any longstanding conservative principles, unless you declare selfishness is the Neoconservatist’s one consistent rallying cry. With small exceptions, Trump has no faith, no fiscal discipline, no prior record of any military or public service or voting, no honest charitable contributions to society, no desire to protect traditions outside his narrow views, no true loyalty to his spouses or business partners, no intellectual and scientific rigor, and no sense of decency. He’s a reality show con man, and you think that’s a good leader.

          I will continue to point out your hypocrisies and inconsistencies. Until you have facts to show otherwise, I will assume that your exasperated post above signals that you have no ammunition left with which to defend the least defensible president in generations.

          Nobody is blaming Trump for the virus, or even for the rapid deflation of the stock market. He earns his scorn because for all the time he has acted the pompous ass, he always took personal credit for all that was good, and threw someone else under the bus when it turned bad. This time Donald is clearly swimming over his head, and there is no one else to blame. That means risk for everyone. You can, as usual, choose to attack the media, or China, or whatever scapegoat. But you know deep down that true character is revealed in times of adversity. Even weak-brained George W. Bush showed more character following the 2001 disaster than Trump has. We can only hope it doesn’t cost everyone trillions that the prior 3 administrations racked up. But then, we know of Trump or your or your allies get the socialist bailouts, then that’s good. You’ll have another label for it, right?

          1. “ As an independent, I at least attempt to call it fairly.”

            Whenever a human makes such a statement implying their view is more proper or fair in relationship to the rest, the person is usually deceived or at least misguided. On top of that, there’s always a dose of hubris and they usually don’t see it or accept it.

  1. The CDC’s Fauci said that its possible that many, many millions of Americans could get this, that it’s mortality rate is 10 times greater than the flu, its transmissibility is greater than the flu and that the number of people contracting this is TOTALLY dependent on the degree of social distancing. (Cancelling events, staying home when sick, not shaking hands etc, etc)

    The fact that Trump and Fox spent every day, up until a few days ago, saying that it’s nothing worse than a cold or flu has had half of our population mocking every effort at social distancing, during this entire period of critical transmission and spread.

    IMO and in the opinion of every medical profession I’ve heard speaking on this, the effort to minimize the seriousness throughout all of this time, rather than talking about the risks honestly, have hugely increased the the amount of contact, the speed of spread, and number of patients who will have this at its peak.

    This is not partisanship it’s science

  2. The Great Mr Intelligent Visionary, President Donny Tiny Hands, twittled his fingers for a while, then proposed in his 2021 budget on February 11, 2020, onlr one month ago, to cut the Center for Disease Control’s funding by 16% and cut the Health and Human Services Dept. Funding by 10%. That’s a whopping 26% cut in protecting poor folks.

    Luckily, the otherwise stupid United Federation of Rightwinger and Leftwinger Legislators in Congress thwarted his vindictive effort. Donald is now on his “blame Obama” tour. Then he told the Federal Reserve Bank this week to make $1.5 Billion available to hos Wall St. backers. On this one, the stupid Congress, most of whose legislators are funded by Wall St., complied.

    Something has to be done to aright the ship of state. We can start with the life-saving M4A, then prohibit big private money in campaigns and in lobbying. O’Bummer avoided them like the plague; Superb Golfer Donald the same.

  3. China has won without dropping one bomb. All they need to do is expand their wet markets and infect the world (which they did) and this causes world panic. To deny this is laughable, but not unexpected from the commies. Yes, they are first and foremost commies. And commies suck large donkey balls.

      1. Trump did not “cut the budget” of anything. Congress sets the budgets. Trump leads the executive branch, not the legislative branch. Learn how the U.S. government works.

        1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/31/us-coronavirus-budget-cuts-trump-underprepared

          “US preparedness to deal with the threat of coronavirus has been hampered by the personnel and budget cuts made by the Trump administration over the past three years, according to health experts.

          There is no one in the White House tasked specifically to oversee a coordinated government-wide response in the event of a pandemic, since the post of senior director for global health security and biothreats on the national security council (NSC) was eliminated last May.

          The office was established in 2016 after the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa demonstrated the US government was not set up to move with the speed and decisiveness necessary to react to a really lethal epidemic.”

          Funding has also been cut drastically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), forcing it to reduce or discontinue epidemic-prevention efforts in 39 out of the 49 countries it had been helping. Among the countries where CDC efforts were scaled back were Haiti, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as China, where the agency provided technical assistance.

          In its 2020 budget the Trump administration proposed a further 10% cut in CDC funding, equivalent to $750m. It zeroed out funding for epidemiology and laboratory capacity at state and local levels.

          After this year’s cuts, 10 advanced treatment facilities will still receive funding, but not the 60 other treatment centres one tier below.

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