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As the coronavirus era continues, the transportation policy leader at the U.S. House of Representatives called on the Trump administration to work with members of Congress.
“The emergency declaration will only go so far, so I urge the Trump administration to work with Congress to address the many needs of millions of Americans who cannot and should not be forced to suffer the effects of this crisis on their own,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said on March 13, soon after President Donald Trump declared the national emergency under the Stafford Act.
The declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop and coordinate a national emergency response.
In February, DeFazio asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for details about the department’s preparation for the coronavirus.
Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), chairwoman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee, added: “While I wish President Trump would have taken this action sooner, this emergency declaration will help bring relief to those who need it the most. Our local and state emergency managers need all the help they can get.”
In Trump’s emergency declaration, he encouraged state and municipalities to activate Emergency Operations Centers and to review emergency preparedness plans, among other actions. States and cities already are proceeding with various temporary bans on public activities to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“I expect FEMA to continue to review all ways in which it can provide assistance to states consistent with the authorities provided to it by this letter and by statute,” Trump explained.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a national emergency declaration to relax certain hours-of-service regulations for motor carriers transporting emergency relief in response to the outbreak. As reported in Transport Topics, that marked the first time FMCSA granted such nationwide relief.
“FMCSA is continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and stands ready to use its authority to protect the health and safety of the American people,” said Jim Mullen, the agency’s acting administrator. Over the weekend, travelers at several airports took to social media to complain about massive crowds. Last week, the Trump administration issued certain restrictions on travel from Europe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that for the following eight weeks, people avoid gatherings of 50 individuals or greater. The CDC also recommends that families develop an emergency plan, make an emergency kit, gain information about essential medication and medical supplies, and ensure access to financial relief.
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
March 16-20: The Senate debates a House-passed coronavirus relief package.
The Democratic debate March 15 that featured the two prominent Democrats vying to win the White House in November focused primarily on the response to the coronavirus. Infrastructure, however, is on their radar. Read about the infrastructure proposals from former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) did not qualify for the debate.
If social distancing is now the new normal, why are travelers at airports packed like sardines?
People are asking: Where’s the toilet paper?
At a House hearing, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) crunched the numbers.
It’s been said, life is all about perspective.
More Coronavirus Contradictions...— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 15, 2020
Trump: “It’s something we have tremendous control over.”
Fauci: “the worst is yet ahead for us.”
The Last Word
If you go back to the swine flu, it was nothing like this. They didn’t do testing like this. And actually, they lost approximately 14,000 people.
President Donald Trump on March 13 at the White House
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