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.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Twitter criticized his Republican colleagues for a “totally unnecessary delay” in voting on the aid package and pushed for further relief for those most impacted by the disease.
“We need to make sure doctors & nurses have everything they need. Testing kits, masks, beds, ventilators,” Schumer tweeted. “President Trump took a 1st step by heeding our call to use the Defense Protection Act to fight the shortages, but his admin still has so much more to do to fight coronavirus.”
With Post wires
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