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article imagePresident Trump to declare 'National Emergency' over COVID-19

By Karen Graham     Mar 13, 2020 in Politics
Washington - President Donald Trump plans to declare a national emergency on Friday over the coronavirus outbreak, invoking the Stafford Act to open the door to more federal aid for states and municipalities, according to reports.
According to administration officials, the president will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. in Washington, where he is expected to declare a national emergency that opens up tens of billions of dollars to help fight the rapidly spreading pandemic.
By invoking the Stafford Act, up to $40 billion would be made available for states as part of the disaster relief plan. An emergency declaration would allow a state to request a 75 percent federal cost-share for expenses that include emergency workers, medical tests, medical supplies, vaccinations, security for medical facilities, and more, according to a letter Democrats sent the president earlier this week, according to Bloomberg.
The Stafford Act has not been used very often for public health threats since the 1960s, and only two have specifically targeted disease outbreaks. President Bill Clinton in 2000 declared emergencies in New York and New Jersey in response to the West Nile Virus.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act was signed into law Nov. 23, 1988. That law amended the Disaster Relief Act of 1974.
Trump has been under increasing fire for his administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic -particularly the lack of coronavirus testing being done compared with other countries.
In addition to having insisted for weeks that he had the outbreak under control, Trump has also propagated personal beliefs about the coronavirus that contradict those of veteran health officials and experts, reports NBC News.
More about Covid19, national emergency, Trump, stafford act
 
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