President Trump declares national emergency, waives interest on federal student loans

On March 13, 2020, President Trump held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden regarding government response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

“To unleash the full power of the federal government, I am officially declaring a national emergency,” Trump said. 

By declaring a national emergency, an additional $50 billion is available to state and local governments for COVID-19 relief.

He began by commenting on the “tremendous progress” and that they are taking “decisive new actions” to combat COVID-19.  Trump restated the current international travel policy–travel is suspended for all foreign nationals, and returning American citizens and their families will be subject to additional screening upon reentering the country, as well as asked to voluntarily participate in a 14-day quarantine. Right now, the travel ban excludes the United Kingdom, but could be added at a later time, he said during the question and answer session following the conference.

Trump also waived interest on all federally-owned student loans until further notice to help alleviate the economic strain of students and their families.

In partnership with Google and other private sector companies such as CVS, a new method of screening and testing will be implemented. There will be a website designed to pre-screen those who are unsure whether they need to be tested. Users will log in, take a survey of their symptoms, then directed to a drive-through testing location. The results of their test will then be available online. Another half million COVID-19 tests are expected to be available next week. 

“We will prevail,” Trump said.

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