President declares national emergency
March 11, 2020
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump invoked emergency powers Friday, declaring a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, which will allow more federal aid to flow to states and municipalities.
"I am officially declaring a national emergency," the president said during a news conference in the Rose Garden. "No resources will be spared, nothing whatsoever."
The announcement came an hour after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi partially preempted Trump by making a public statement from the Capitol, outlining legislation she has negotiated largely with Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin that, she said, would ensure that coronavirus testing is free for all Americans, including the uninsured.
"We can only defeat this outbreak if we have an accurate determination of its scale and scope," said Pelosi, D-Calif.
House Democrats vowed to vote Friday on their legislation or an amended version agreed to by the White House, which has balked at some of the elements that go beyond providing temporary relief to those affected by the coronavirus.
If the House pushes ahead without clear support from the administration, any bill coming out of the House would face more serious hurdles in the Republican-controlled Senate, which is expected to take up the legislation next week.
According to administration officials, the final determination on whether to declare a national emergency or a national disaster, which is typically invoked following natural disasters like hurricanes but offers Trump more discretion over how money is spent, had remained unsettled just hours before the planned event. Aides huddled inside the White House to decide on the administration's course of action.