Trump authorizes National Guard as states plead for masks and ventilators.
After the governors of multiple states and other leaders made urgent pleas on Sunday for masks and other protective equipment to help fight the swelling outbreak, President Trump listed a number of federal actions in a news conference in the evening.
As the number of known cases in the United States crossed 31,700, California officials told hospitals to restrict coronavirus testing, and a hospital in Washington State warned that it could run out of life-preserving ventilators by early next month. Washington State’s Department of Health told local leaders that only the highest-priority areas would have access to the government’s reserves of protective equipment, including N95 masks.
Mr. Trump said that major disaster declarations were in process for New York, California and Washington — the three states hardest hit by the virus — and that they would not have to pay for deploying National Guard units.
“Through FEMA, the federal government will be funding 100 percent of the cost of deploying National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus, while those governors remain in command,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump placed National Guard units from California, New York and Washington under Title 32 authority. This means the troops from these states will still be under the control of their state’s governors but will be supporting a federal mission, much like the roughly 2,200 National Guard soldiers currently on the southern border.
Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the head of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters Sunday that the troops will support the Department of Health and Human Services with testing and at medical facilities, as well as provide unspecified support for FEMA.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” General Lengyel said. “It’s a historic event and it’s going to require a historic response.”
Mr. Trump also said during the Sunday conference that he had directed FEMA to supply four large federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for California, and three large federal medical stations and four small federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for the State of Washington.
The stations for New York, to be built in Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, were announced earlier in the day by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
As Mr. Trump detailed federal activities, he at times repeated facts and appeared halting as he described a complex list of facts and figures in the millions.
Many state and local officials have pressed Mr. Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to mobilize industry to manufacture scarce goods. On Sunday, Peter T. Gaynor, the FEMA administrator, said the president was not doing so, and instead was using the threat of the act as “leverage to demonstrate that we can.”
At the news conference on Sunday, Mr. Trump defended his decision not to implement the Defense Production Act despite an outcry from state governors and Democrats.
“Call a person over in Venezuela,” Mr. Trump said. “Ask them, how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our businesses is not a good concept.”
The president’s top trade adviser said that, in fact, the act had spurred the country’s “industrial base” to voluntarily mobilize, allowing for the quick conversion of corporate production facilities to produce medical supplies.
“We’re getting what we need without putting the heavy hand of government down,” Peter Navarro, the president’s top trade adviser, told reporters.
Senate Democrats block action on a trillion-dollar stimulus plan.
Senate Democrats on Sunday blocked action on an emerging deal to prop up an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, paralyzing the progress of a nearly $2 trillion government rescue package they said failed to adequately protect workers or impose strict enough restrictions on bailed-out businesses.
The party-line vote was a stunning setback after three days of fast-paced negotiations between senators and administration officials to reach a bipartisan compromise on legislation that is expected to be the largest economic stimulus package in American history — now expected to cost $1.8 trillion or more. In a 47-to-47 vote, the Senate fell short of the 60 votes that would have been needed to advance the measure, even as talks continued behind the scenes between Democrats and the White House to salvage a compromise.
The failure to move forward shook financial markets and threatened an ambitious timeline set by the Trump administration and leading Republicans to move the rescue package through the Senate on Monday and enact it within days.
In voting to block action, Democrats risked a political backlash if they are seen as obstructing progress on a measure that is widely regarded as crucial to aid desperate Americans and…
Source Website Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Authorizes National Guard; Canada Threatens Olympics