Well it’s about time the Republicans recognized the severity of the situation.
Courtesy of NYT:
The Senate approved a relief package Wednesday to provide sick leave, unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing, and food and medical aid to people affected by the pandemic, sending it to President Trump, who is expected to sign it. The House passed it. last week.
The Senate vote was 90 to 8, after the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, urged conservatives who disliked the bill to “gag and vote for it anyway.”
“This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
Lawmakers and the White House are already drafting another economic stabilization package that would send direct payments to taxpayers and loans to businesses. Mr. McConnell instructed senators to “stay around, close.”
“Just how long it will take to get through these steps is unclear, but as everyone knows we are moving rapidly because the situation demands it,” he said.
An outline of the new bill, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, calls for a total of $1 trillion in spending for those programs, which would also include $50 billion for secured loans for the airline industry, and another $150 billion for secured loans or loan guarantees for other parts of the economy hard hit by the unfolding financial crisis.
The Treasury Department proposal calls for the authority to send two $250 billion rounds of checks directly to American taxpayers, the first on April 6 and the second May 18. Payments would be fixed, and their size dependent on income and family size, the summary said.
I want to applaud these decisions because at least it’s something, but they have to know that this is only a drop in the bucket.
Trump is also reacting finally.
Courtesy of Vox:
Trump said that he is invoking the Defense Production Act, a wartime law that would allow the government to harness the private sector to produce medical equipment necessary to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Trump also announced that the US and Canada had mutually decided to close their shared border for nonessential travel for recreation and tourism. (This is actually a little redundant since Trudeau already closed the borders. I guess Trump wants credit for it as well.)
The social distancing and quarantines meant to fight the virus are proving devastating to entire industries, including restaurants and hospitality, and could leave workers in those fields and hourly workers unable to pay their bills.
To alleviate the financial burden on homeowners affected by the virus, Trump said that the federal government is suspending foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.
Medical professionals can now practice across state lines in order to help hospitals in hotspots of transmission to increase their capacity, Trump announced.
Trump said he has sent two hospital ships with capacity for 1,000 patients, including operating rooms, to New York at the request of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The state has been particularly hard hit by the virus, with 2,382 cases as of March 18. In New York City alone, 1,339 people have tested positive, and a portion of the city of New Rochelle is also under lockdown.
Trump also said that they will be turning away asylum seekers at the Mexican border, but let’s face it he has been trying to do that for years so it likely has little to do with the Coronavirus.
These measures are a start and most of them will likely help to some degree.
However it is important to realize that this thing is not blowing over in a month, six months, or perhaps even in a year.
There is some serious work that needs to be done, but to be honest most of that will likely have to wait until the Democrats take over in November.