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.”
I will be having a news conference today at 3:00 P.M., The White House. Topic: CoronaVirus!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2020
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.
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.
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