President Donald Trump on Wednesday night signed a coronavirus aid package passed by Congress providing free testing and two-week paid sick leave for full-time workers who fall ill.
The bipartisan, multi-billion dollar relief bill was approved by the House late Sunday and passed in the Senate earlier Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin brokered the deal last week.
The bill also provides $1 billion in food aid to the needy and $1 billion in unemployment funds to states as the number of coronavirus cases soared to 7,000 across the country.
Trump, describing himself as a “wartime president” fighting the virus, on Wednesday also invoked the Defense Production Act to step up production of medical supplies; praised FEMA’s response to the fight and said a “self-swab” test is in the works.
“I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future,” Trump tweeted. “Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!”
Amid rising cases, the Trump administration continued to push the idea of allocating $500 billion to issue checks to Americans by April 6 as part of a $1 trillion rescue plan
The president is also sending a floating hospital
A floating naval hospital with 1,000 beds will soon be dispatched to New York to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump said Wednesday.
The USNS Comfort, which also boasts 12 fully equipped operating rooms, will anchor in New York Harbor to provide desperately needed hospital space as the state battles the bug.
Neither the president nor Gov. Cuomo, who first announced that the feds were making the ship available, disclosed when it would arrive.
As of Wednesday evening, the Comfort remained moored off Norfolk, Va., according to the vessel-tracking site marinetraffic.com.