US President Donald Trump says he may announce National Emergency by declaring coronavirus pandemic. He may introduce the Stafford Act in the country to speed up the treatment of the virus. The coronavirus pandemic models a distinct level of challenge. It threatens the nation’s health as well as its economic prosperity. But it must be dealt with the same kind of bold, consistent and coordinated response.
So far, as the virus flows from person to person and state to state, the federal government is lagging several steps. Now, the president also starts to feel the heat of the virus. And is thinking to take action to stop the havoc of the coronavirus.
Holding a national emergency would make clear that Mr. Trump appreciates the significance of the challenge. And set an example for administrators in the public and private sectors. On a practical level, such a statement would remove legal restrictions to a wide variety of necessary actions. Such as the delivery of emergency assistance to state and local governments.
The law authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support state and local governments. It supports during "natural catastrophes" and regulate the nation's response.
FEMA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It commands more than $40 billion in federal funding set aside for disaster relief. FEMA could use that funding to help build medical amenities and transport patients, among other measures.
Only the president can claim a major disaster under the law.
"We have strong emergency powers under the Stafford Act," Trump tells. "I have it memorized, practically, as to the laws in that act. And if I need to do something, I'll do it. I have the right to do a lot of stuff that people don't even know about".
Trump has summoned the Stafford Act many times during his presidency. For approving major disaster declarations to address flooding in the Midwest and wildfires in California, among other events.
FEMA is usually connected with natural disaster response but the agency can also address pandemics.
Other Laws That Mr. Trump Can Invoke
An emergency notification under the National Emergencies Act unbars sweeping presidential powers. Like the capacity to seize control of the internet or waive laws. While a Stafford Act announcement deals only with FEMA.
In 2009, former President Barack Obama declares the H1N1 influenza, or "swine flu," pandemic to be a national emergency under that law.
Obama's declaration waived some federal health insurance rules to hurry treatment.