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Trump invokes Defense Production Act, blocks evictions and foreclosures

Federal Housing department to suspend evictions, foreclosures through April, president

Published: March 18, 2020 12:46pm

Updated: March 18, 2020 1:01pm

President Trump on Wednesday announced additional federal measures to fight the coronavirus and help Americans struggling amid the pandemic – including the use of the Defense Production Act to accelerate getting supplies to the military, energy sector and homeland security programs.  

The president signed an executive order to access executive branch powers under the act, which also helps protect the country’s infrastructure in times of crisis.

“Now it’s our time,” Trump said at the daily White House briefing on the coronavirus, which is now in all 50 U.S. states. “We must sacrifice together. It’s the invisible enemy. … We are going to defeat the invisible enemy.”

Trump also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now working in every state and is operating at its highest emergency level.

He restated that the first clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine started earlier this week and announced further steps to increase coronavirus test, including so-called “self swabs.”

Trump said the process would be easier for Americans than the existing tests and would “free up” health care professionals.

The president said he’s asked the Food and Drug Administration to help accelerate the approval process.

The president also said that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has suspended evictions and foreclosures for renters and homeowners, respectively, until the end of April. 

Earlier in the day, Trump had a telephone call with the leaders of the U.S. airline industry, which is being hit hard by the limited travel related to the spread of the virus.