Trump breaks down COVID-19 relief bill during task force update

Local News

President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — President Trump broke down provisions of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill during the daily White House coronavirus task force update.

The following are a few of the provisions he explained:

  • $350 billion in job retention loans for small businesses with loan forgiveness
  • $300 billion in direct cash payments for American citizens
  • $250 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
  • $100 billion to support healthcare workers and hospitals
  • $45 billion for a disaster relief fund
  • $27 billion to build up strategic national stockpile of items like masks, respirators and pharmaceuticals
  • $500 billion for hardest hit industries

This was the first briefing since Senate leaders of both parties agreed on unprecedented emergency legislation to rush sweeping aid totaling some $2 trillion to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said the payout for Americans who are eligible will begin in three weeks. He noted money will be deposited directly into bank accounts, or if that’s not an option, mailed out.

The task force also provided an update on the status of the pandemic around the nation.

“America continues to gain ground on the war against this virus,” said President Trump. He said the US is doing “some very large testings” throughout the country and the number of tests are going up exponentially.

Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the task force, noted a total of 432,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed.

FEMA has reportedly distributed or is in the process of shipping 9.4 million N95 respirators, 20 million surgical masks, 3.1 million face shields, 2.6 million surgical gowns, 13.6 million gloves and 6,000 ventilators.

Vice President Pence noted there are about 150,000 ventilators across the country, and they are currently looking into transforming a device anesthesiologists use into more.

When faced with the question of what the end of the 15-day quarantine period would look like, Trump said they’re hoping for a recommendation by then.

“I’m not going to do anything rash, or hastily, I don’t do that. But our country wants to get back to work .. we expect a recommendation by Easter .. people want to get back to work,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke to the medical side of the virus, saying he believes the it will be a “seasonal cycling” thing. He emphasized the importance of developing and testing a vaccine for that reason.

Birx implored people to protect themselves, saying, “You have a role to protect each and every person you interact with … to every American out there, when you protect yourself, you are protecting others.” Pence also encouraged the American people to listen to their state and local leaders and heed their directives.

The coronavirus relief bill is expected to pass Thursday.

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