Trump Signs Cares Act While Putting Defense Production Act Into Effect, Claiming 'GM Was Wasting Time'
The bill is a more than $2 trillion relief package that will provide billions of dollars to health care providers, see checks going directly to tax payers and provide financial assistance to small businesses.
The bill promises $100 billion to hospitals on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis and $27 billion towards developing vaccines and the development, purchase and distribution of critical supplies needed to provide care.
Another $45 billion will be put into the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund, providing more resources for states and local leaders to respond to the crisis.
Additionally, individuals earning up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 and $500 for each child, while couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400 and $500 for each child.
“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” Trump said of the bipartisan effort on the bill before he signed it on Friday.
“We got hit by the invisible enemy, and we got hit hard,” Trump said, adding, “I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound.”
“This is a very important day,” Trump said. “I’ve signed the single biggest economic relief package in American history and, I must say, any other package by the way. It is twice as large as any relief ever signed.”
“This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses. That’s what this is all about,” he continued, going on to again thank Republicans and Democrats “for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter Friday that the bipartisan passage of the CARES Act “sends a clear message: we are all committed to protecting America’s workers and families as our nation confronts this public health crisis.”
Trump also put into effect the Defense Production Act, which he’s using to order General Motors to produce ventilators.
“Today, I signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators,” Trump said in a statement Friday.
“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,” the statement continued.
Trump called out General Motors for “wasting time.”
“Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives,” the statement concluded.
General Motors said in a statement on Friday that the company has been “working around the clock” to meet the “urgent need” of ventilators.
“Ventec, GM and our supply base have been working around the clock for weeks to meet this urgent need. Our commitment to build Ventec’s high-quality critical care ventilator, VOCSN, has never wavered,” General Motors’ statement said.
“The partnership between Ventec and GM combines global expertise in manufacturing quality and a joint commitment to safety to give medical professionals and patients access to life-saving technology as rapidly as possible. The entire GM team is proud to support this initiative,” the statement said.
The company had previously said in a press release on March 20 that it is “collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products to support the growing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventec will leverage GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more of their critically important ventilators.”
While Trump used the Defense Production Act to produce much-needed ventilators, he told Sean Hannity on Friday that he has “a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be.”
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While Trump didn’t explicitly mention New York, he clearly then referred to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments that the state could need up to 30,000 of the machines.
“I hope NY doesn’t ultimately need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo tweeted on Friday. “But I don’t operate on opinion and hope. I operate on facts and data and science. All the projections say we will need 30,000-40,000 ventilators. So that is what we will strive to have.”
“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” Trump told Hannity. “You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’ ”
New York is currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S., with at least 44,635 confirmed cases of the contagious respiratory virus as of Friday afternoon, according to data from the New York Times. There are at least 99,706 cases nationwide as of Friday.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.