President Trump has signed into law a historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, just hours after the House approved it and shortly before the White House’s daily briefing on the pandemic.
“This will deliver urgently-needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses. And that’s what this is all about,” Trump said at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office.
The legislation signed on Friday is a major bipartisan victory for Congress and marks the largest relief package in American history. The bill includes billions in business loans, along with direct payments to Americans and an expansion of unemployment insurance.
With that action and with the U.S. approaching 100,000 coronavirus cases, the White House task force is scheduled to hold its next briefing early Friday evening.
Trump said at the signing ceremony there would be an announcement on deals to make more ventilators, masks and other equipment.
Earlier Friday, Trump issued a memorandum ordering the use of the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to prioritize federal contracts for ventilators.
In a statement, Trump said, “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. GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.”
GM said Friday it was “working around the clock for over a week to meet this urgent need.”
Trump and Vice President Pence had previously said that private companies were stepping up without the administration needing to invoke the Defense Production Act.