White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • Education Department will not enforce federal rules on standardized testing for K-12 schools this year.
  • Allow federal student loan borrowers to suspend payments for at least 60 days without penalty as the government battles the coronavirus pandemic.  Borrowers would have to contact their student loan servicers to take advantage of the benefit
  • Treasury Department announced that the tax filing deadline officially moved from April 15 to July 15.
  • Applaud CA Governor Newsom and NY Governor Cuomo for their actions ordering citizens to stay at home. Our Administration is working very closely with both of them.
  • We are working with Canada and Mexico to contain the spread of the virus. Statements forthcoming from Departments of State and DHS.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

  • Restrict all non-essential travel between the US and Canada. The restriction will be reviewed after 30 days.
  • US and Mexico have also mutually agreed to restrict non-essential travel. Trade excluded. They were still working through details for agriculture workers.
  • Yesterday the State Department issued Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level for travel advisories.

Acting Secretary of DHS Chad Wolfe

  • DHS has screened 200,000 individuals coming to the US from affected countries.
  • For travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico, essential commercial activities will not be impacted (medical, emergency response, trade).
  • Restrictions for Canada and Mexico will be effective tomorrow, Saturday, March 21.
  • The US is suspending the introduction of individuals into the US at the Northern and Southern borders without proper screening and documentation.  Currently, individuals from 120 countries seek entry into the US.  DHS/CBP will immediately return individuals to Canada, Mexico, and other countries. CBP is prepared to handle these restrictions.
  • On Thursday, DHS deemed public health, law enforcement, food and agriculture, defense, and 12 other industries are “critical” and should maintain their usual work schedules to help respond to the outbreak.

Secretary of HHS Alex Azar, Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, and Vice President Mike Pence also made brief comments. Dr. Anthony Fauci reinforced his previous comments about the need for Americans to heed the 15-day guidelines. Dr. Fauci also stated he strongly supports actions by Governor Cuomo and Governor Newsom because some areas are more stressed than other parts of the country as a whole.

During the Q&A section, President Trump was asked to clarify inconsistent statements over the past two days about his use of the Defense Production Act. President Trump responded that he has invoked the Defense Protection Act and using it now to identify ventilators and masks. Through the Defense Production Act, Administration is using the power of the federal government to help states get the equipment they need.

President Trump stated that he would not order a national lockdown stating the Midwest and other locations don’t have problems that CA, WA, and FL have. In response to a question about the economic aid package being negotiated on Capitol Hill, President Trump stated he had a good conversation with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about prohibiting stock buybacks. President Trump emphasized and demanded that there be no stock buybacks with the money going to companies to address the pandemic.   President Trump stated that he supports negotiations to prohibit stock buybacks in the final legislation.

For full Remarks from the White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/news

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