House Democrats and the Trump administration have reached a legislative deal to help Americans deal with the fallout and health concerns resulting from the coronavirus.
The agreement, made on Friday and called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, will include free coronavirus testing, paid emergency leave, jobless benefits, increased food aid for children, senior citizens and food banks, more funding for Medicaid, and resources aimed at steadying financial markets.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote on the bill Friday night, and the Senate is expected to address it on Monday.
“We are proud to have reached an agreement with the administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi also addressed the legislation in a letter to Democratic members of congress, writing, “This legislation is about testing, testing, testing.”
Earlier on Friday, the president gave an exhausting and sometimes confusing press conference where he officially declared a national emergency, invoking the Stafford Act, which will free up federal aid to help states and municipalities cope with the crisis.
In what has become a norm since the start of the crisis, Trump contradicted his own health experts who flanked him during the presser, downplayed the extent of the crisis, disregarded safety measures like not shaking hands and finally relented to getting a coronavirus test. Trump reluctantly said he “most likely” will get tested after a reporter pointed out the president was photographed last weekend standing next to a Brazilian official who has tested positive.
Finally, the president was asked if he takes any responsibility in the delay of tests reaching Americans, which continues to play a part in the crisis worsening. Astonishingly, Trump said, “No I don’t take responsibility at all.”
— PoliticsVideo23 (@politicsvideo23) March 13, 2020
This from a man who told convention-goers while accepting the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 that America was in a crisis and that he “alone can fix it.” Flash forward three years, with the country in the midst of a literal crisis, it is plainly clear that President Trump alone makes matters worse.