By press time in mid-March, President Donald Trump had signed into law an $8.3 billion
stimulus package to help find a vaccine for
the coronavirus and declared a national
emergency, and Treasury Secretary Steve
Mnuchin was trying to hammer out an
additional $850 billion stimulus package
to stem the economic and market carnage.
Policy analysts like Ed Mills of Raymond
James opined in mid-March that a “
potentially weeks-long effort for additional
fiscal stimulus measures” would be under-way, which may prolong market volatility.
In the near-term, however, Trump
declared on March 13 a national emer-
gency, “outlined a public-private part-
nership to dramatically increase testing
capacity, and announced oil purchases
for the strategic petroleum reserve and
the waiving of interest on federal stu-
dent loans,” Mills stated.
The national emergency 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 also will con-
fer “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 provid-
ers maximum flexibility to respond to the
virus and care for patients,” Trump said.
During a March 16 press briefing,
Trump announced “new guidelines for
every American to follow over the next
15 days,” which will “further toughen
the guidelines and blunt the effect” of
the coronavirus. With schools closed
across the country, Trump urged “
working to engage in school at home,” and
told Americans to avoid gatherings with
more than 10 people, as well as bars, restaurants and public food courts. Curfews
also had been set in many states.
A coronavirus vaccine candidate “has
begun the phase one trial,” Trump said,
adding that the United States also is “racing
to get anti-viral treatments” to reduce the
symptoms and duration of the coronavirus.
Two days earlier, the House approved
H. R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus
Response Act, legislation which, among
other measures, offers free coronavirus
testing, by and large, for everyone in the
While the House-approved bill allows
for free testing for the virus, expands
unemployment insurance, paid sick leave
for those affected, and subsidized meals
for students eligible for free school lunch-es, the measures are “relatively small and
offer modest support to those with economic problems,” according to Ray Dalio,
By Melanie Waddell
Washington Tackles Multi-Pronged
The Trump administration and Congress rallied to stem market and health
fallout caused by the coronavirus.