Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus outbreak to free up federal resources

(USA Features) President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the still-emerging coronavirus outbreak, vowing to use every federal resource to stop the spread.

“Two very big words,” Trump said from the White House Rose Garden. “No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever.”

Trump invoked the Stafford Act so he could extend up to $50 billion in aid to states and municipalities. He also ordered states to activate emergency-operation plans.

In addition to the declaration, Trump said he is temporarily waiving interest on student loans held by federal entities. Also, he’s directed the Department of Energy to purchase oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as prices are depressed.

The administration will also provide hospitals and health centers with more options to see patients using telehealth, waiving certain licensing requirements so doctors can assist regions that need help.

The president will waive restrictions that limit the number of hospital beds in each facility as well, in addition to the length of a patient’s stay.

Meanwhile, the president said House Democrats haven’t “given enough” in negotiations on legislation to deal with the crisis, raising doubts about a deal that appeared to be within reach.

“They’re not doing what’s right for the country,” the president said.

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