President Donald Trump officially declared on Friday afternoon a national emergency “to combat and defeat” the coronavirus.
“Two very big words,” Trump said during his remarks in the Rose Garden.
The declaration will “open up access to up to $50 billion” for states, territories and localities “in our shared fight against this disease.”
Trump said he was also urging states to set up emergency operation centers immediately and asked the nation’s hospitals to activate their emergency preparedness plans.
“Our overriding goal is to stop this virus,” Trump said.
Trump’s emergency order will also confer “broad new authority” to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who will be able to “immediately waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients,” Trump said.
Other emergency executive actions include waiving interest on all student loans held by all federal government agencies “until further notice,” Trump said.
“And, based on the price of oil, I’ve also instructed the director of energy to purchase, at a very good price, large quantities of crude oil for storage in the U.S. strategic reserve,” Trump said. “We’re going to fill it right up to the top.”
The Markets Surge
All three indexes surged to nearly wipe out all of Thursday’s historic losses. The S&P 500 jumped 9.28% to 2,710.95; the Dow was up 9.36% to close at 23,185.62; and the Nasdaq was up 9.34% to close at 7,874.23.
Second Legislative Response
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Friday afternoon in a televised address that the House is passing on Friday legislation that’s “focused directly on providing support for America’s families.”