Trump Signs $2 Trillion Bill as U.S. Virus Cases Pass 100,000


More than 100,000 folks within the United States have now been contaminated with the coronavirus, in response to a New York Times database, a grim milestone that comes on the identical day the nationwide loss of life toll surpassed 1,500.

Earlier this week the nation surpassed the case totals in China and Italy. The variety of recognized circumstances has risen quickly in latest days as testing ramped up after weeks of widespread shortages and delays.

President Trump on Friday evening lamented the loss of economic gains that he had often used to measure his success in office and that served as the heart of his re-election message until the coronavirus hit the United States.

And he attacked Democratic governors for being insufficiently grateful for his efforts.

“Think of it, 22 days ago we had the greatest economy in the world,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference. “Everything was going beautifully. The stock market hit an all-time high again for the over 150th time during my presidency.”

He singled out the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, and the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, for his prime time scorn.

Mr. Inslee, he said, was “a failed presidential candidate” who was “constantly tripping and complaining.” Ms. Whitmer “has no idea what’s going on,” he said.

He then said he told Vice President Mike Pence, his coronavirus coordinator, to stop calling Mr. Inslee and Ms. Whitmer: “Don’t call the woman in Michigan, doesn’t make any difference,” he said of Ms. Whitmer.

“Very simple. I want them to be appreciative,” he said, saying his administration has “done a hell of a job.”

In a subsequent CNN town hall event on Friday night, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is likely to face Mr. Trump in the general election, took issue with how the president has spoken about some governors. Ms. Whitmer is a national co-chair of his campaign.

“This is not personal,” Mr. Biden said. “It has nothing to do with you, Donald Trump, nothing to do with you. Do your job. Stop personalizing everything.”

Mr. Biden said he would recommend to governors that they lock down their states for several weeks, and he expressed support for a rent freeze for at least three months.

President Trump on Friday signed into law the largest economic stimulus package in modern American history, backing a $2 trillion measure designed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the law, the government will deliver direct payments and jobless benefits for individuals, money for states and a huge bailout fund for businesses battered by the crisis.

Mr. Trump signed the measure in the Oval Office hours after the House approved it by voice vote and less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed it.

In brief remarks, Mr. Trump, flanked by Republican leaders in Congress, thanked “Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first” and said it would help pave the road to economic recovery.

“I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound,” he said.

The legislation will send direct payments of $1,200 to millions of Americans, including those earning up to $75,000, and an additional $500 per child. It will substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, and for the first time will extend the payments to freelancers and gig workers.

The measure will also offer $377 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses and establish a $500 billion government lending program for distressed companies reeling from the crisis, including allowing the administration the ability to take equity stakes in airlines that received aid to help compensate taxpayers. It will also send $100 billion to hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic.

The law was the product of days of talks between members of Mr. Trump’s administration and Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress. And even before Mr. Trump held a bill signing on Friday afternoon, congressional leaders said they expected to negotiate more legislative responses to the pandemic in the coming months.

“I look to New York to see what’s going on there, and I think, it’s a cautionary tale for the rest of us,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, a Democrat, said in an interview on Friday. “I look at New York and think, what do we do so that we are as prepared as possible as this begins to ramp up in a city like Chicago?”

No country has been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than Italy, where officials announced Friday that more than 950 people had died in the past 24 hours. It was the highest daily tally yet, lifting the national death toll to 9,134 — by far the highest in the world.

The virus has also penetrated the high walls of the Vatican.

The Vatican on Tuesday said an official who lives in the pope’s residence has tested positive and required hospitalization. Now the Vatican is testing scores of people and considering isolating measures for Francis, 83, who has tested negative in two separate tests, according to top Vatican officials.

“For weeks now, it has been evening — thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities,” Pope Francis, who had part of his lungs removed during an illness in his youth, said on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica Friday. “It has taken over our lives.”

Pope Francis also expressed support and appreciation for “doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves.”

You can take several steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and keep yourself safe. Be consistent about social distancing. Wash your hands often. And when you do leave your home for groceries or other essentials, wipe down your shopping cart and be smart about what you are purchasing.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Cooper, Alan Blinder, Julie Bosman, Emily Cochrane, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Maya Salam, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, John Eligon, Amy Qin, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Elian Peltier, Raphael Minder, Jason Horowitz, Fabio Bucciarelli, Nikita Stewart, Michael Crowley, Jason Horowitz, Elisabetta Povoledo, Lara Jakes, Jesse Drucker, Abdi Latif Dahir, Vikas Bajaj, Carl Hulse, Steven Lee Myers, Caitlin Dickerson, Annie Correal, Adam Liptak, Neil MacFarquhar, Frances Robles, Thomas Kaplan, Sabrina Tavernise, Audra D. S. Burch, Sarah Mervosh and Campbell Robertson.



Source link Nytimes.com

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