On The Money: Trump signs $2T coronavirus relief bill | Trump uses powers to force GM to make ventilators | Consumer sentiment plunges in March
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THE BIG DEAL–Trump signs $2T coronavirus relief package: President TrumpDonald John TrumpDefense industrial base workers belong at home during this public health crisis Maduro pushes back on DOJ charges, calls Trump ‘racist cowboy’ House leaders hope to vote Friday on coronavirus stimulus MORE on Friday signed a $2 trillion economic relief package aimed at helping American workers and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- The bill includes $1,200 one-time payments to many Americans,
- Sets up a $500 billion corporate liquidity fund to help struggling industries like airlines,
- Allocates $377 billion for aid to small businesses,
- And boosts the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week for four months, among other provisions.
Trump signed the legislation hours after it passed the House, thanking Republicans and Democrats “for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first” with the legislation.
How we got here: The massive bill, dubbed the CARES Act, was the result of days of high-stakes negotiations between the Trump administration and Senate leaders.
LEADING THE DAY
Trump uses Defense Production Act to require GM to make ventilators: President Trump on Friday used the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to produce ventilators to combat the coronavirus after days of hesitating to use the powers in the law.
The president in a statement said the federal government had abandoned negotiations with the automaker on ventilator production, complaining that the automaker was “wasting time.”
“Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” Trump said.
The Hill’s Brett Samuels has more here.
Trump names Navarro as Defense Production Act coordinator: Trump also said Friday that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro would become the national Defense Production Act policy coordinator for the federal government as the administration seeks to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump made the announcement at an afternoon press conference at the White House, saying he gave Navarro the new authorities when he signed an executive order earlier that day.
- Navarro has been one of the driving forces behind Trump’s protectionist trade agenda. He has consistently pushed the president to impose crushing tariffs on China and the European Union, feuding with Trump’s free-trade leaning advisers and Republican lawmakers along the way.
- Navarro has also been one of the chief proponents of Trump’s proposed tariffs on foreign automobiles, which have been fiercely opposed by U.S. carmakers now under pressure from the president to step up medical supply production.
“Peter Navarro is going to handle that and Peter will do a very good job,” the president said. “Maybe they’ll change their tune, but we didn’t want to play games with them.”
Consumer sentiment plunges in March: Consumer sentiment plummeted in March, nearing one of the biggest monthly drops on record as the coronavirus pandemic shutters businesses and forces workers to stay home.
The University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment, a key indicator of how Americans feel about the economy and spending money, dropped 11.9 points from February to 89.1.
“The steepest monthly decline was barely larger at -12.7 Index-points in response to the deepening recession in October 2008, and there were two declines of 12.2 points in response to the 1980 recession and Hurricane Katrina in September 2005,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist, in a statement.
Much of the decline, Curtin noted, took place toward the end of the survey period, setting the stage for a potentially historic drop in next month’s reading. The Hill’s Niv Elis has more here.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Stocks closed with deep losses Friday, curbing the gains from an extraordinary rally that stretched through three days of dire medical and economic news for the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- President Trump is expanding his economic team as the White House stares down what could be the sharpest downturn the U.S. has faced since the Great Depression.
- A group of 17 Democratic Senators sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday urging it to do more to combat price gouging amid the coronavirus pandemic.
ODDS AND ENDS
- The NCAA is drastically cutting the amount of money it was expected to distribute to its Division I member schools as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has canceled big college sporting events such as the annual men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
- Apple on Friday launched a website and app designed to screen for COVID-19 and provide information on the coronavirus from vetted sources.