President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening said he supports providing more aid for New York and other U.S. states in a fourth legislative response to the coronavirus crisis, as Washington starts to focus on its next package after reaching a deal on extending aid to small businesses.
His comments at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing came after a meeting with Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“We mentioned briefly the state aid, and we talked about that, Mr. Cuomo and myself,” Trump said. “I agree with him on that, and I think most Republicans agree, too, and Democrats. And that’s part of Phase 4, and I think infrastructure is going to be a big part — we have to rebuild our country.”
At Tuesday’s briefing, Trump also gave details on his plans to limit immigration during the crisis. In addition, Trump administration officials talked about potentially getting back money from big public companies that shouldn’t have received loans from the ongoing aid effort for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program.
Trump earlier Tuesday had tweeted before a key Senate vote that a new round of negotiations soon would begin on money for state and local governments, infrastructure work and delivering tax incentives for businesses and individuals. The Senate then approved a nearly $500 billion package providing more help for small businesses and hospitals, which some analysts have described as Washington’s “Phase 3.5” response to the pandemic.
Cuomo, for his part, earlier Tuesday had said the main thrust of his meeting with Trump would be to discuss ramping up testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, including how the federal government can work with states. Cuomo has been saying that New York cannot reopen for business until a testing regime has been established to determine who is safe to go back to work.
When asked if Cuomo convinced him of the need for expanded testing, Trump said the two leaders “have an understanding on testing,” adding that there will be “very significant testing.”
“I had a very productive meeting with Gov. Cuomo, as you probably saw, to discuss his statewide testing strategy and how we can work together to help expand it — with the goal of doubling testing in the next few weeks,” Trump also said at the briefing.
“The federal government will work along with the state on the national manufacturers and distributors. … We hope this model will work with the other states as well.”
In addition, Trump said the USNS Comfort, a 1,000-bed naval ship that has been in New York City, soon will leave the city.
“I asked Andrew if we could bring the Comfort back to its base in Virginia so that we can have it for other locations, and he said we would be able to do that,” the president said.
Originally Published on MarketWatch
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