US President Donald Trump has announced a package of measures to counteract the economic effects of the new coronavirus. On Monday, he urged Congress to draft a bill that would, inter alia, include tax relief for workers and loans for small businesses. Aid should also be considered for people who are paid hourly wages for whom particular hardship arises in the event of a loss of work due to an illness.
Political Action to Protect Those Economically Impacted by Coronavirus
On Tuesday, the president held talks with members of Congress and stated that meetings with airlines, cruise operators, and the hotel industry were also being planned, as these industries were particularly affected by the current crisis caused by the virus.
On Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi announced legislation aiming to protect Americans who have been infected. The legislation would include provisions for hourly workers who would be particularly hard hit if forced to self-quarantine, as well as provisions to ensure that employers could not punish workers for sick days caused by the coronavirus. Among other things, this should a combination of paid sick leave and unemployment insurance, as well as health-related protective measures such as provisions against price reductions and widespread free tests.
The previous week, Congress had already provided $ 8.3 billion in emergency funds to alleviate the issues associated with the coronavirus. These focused primarily on the immediate health concerns associated with the growing epidemic. Key provisions in this package included efforts to expand public health research, promote the production and distribution of test kits, and accelerate the diagnostic process.
This week’s bill aims to focus on the economic implications as more schools drop classes, companies cut annual conferences, airlines cut flights, and travelers and workers choose to stay at home. A deciding vote on Pelosi’s bill is expected for the early weekend. President Trump then needs to sign the bill.
National Emergency Declaration Frees Up Major FEMA Funding
Moreover, on Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Senate Minority Leader Schumer and other senators had sent a letter to President Trump, urging him to declare the national emergency due to the virus. Today on March 14 Trump finally agreed, which allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use more than $ 50 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to assist the local government in responding to the coronavirus.
The spreading coronavirus and a crash on the international oil markets had also caused the American stock market to collapse on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial fell to its lowest level since the beginning of last year. In the past two weeks, the Dow had already lost almost eleven percent – burdened above all by the impending consequences of the coronavirus for the global economy. America’s Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said they would use whatever means are available to protect the American economy from the effects of the coronavirus. However, the situation was not comparable to the one in the financial crisis, he said, assuring the United States had the most resilient economy in the world.
Meanwhile, the number of infections in the US has skyrocketed in the past few days. The CDC health authority had initially spoken of 423 infections and 19 deaths from the virus on Monday. CDC chief Robert Redfield said in the appearance with Trump, the number is now more than 500 cases of infection. The development puts Trump’s government under increasing pressure to act. The president had tried to calm the population in recent days and argued that the situation was sometimes exaggerated. The general risk of infection in the United States is low, and the country is well prepared.
Vice President Mike Pence, who coordinates government efforts around the virus, also said on Monday that the general population’s risk of getting infected remains low. Older people and people with previous illnesses are particularly at risk. At the same time,Pence admitted that the country had to prepare for further infections.