Senate Democrats call on Trump to consider disaster declaration

Senate Democrats call on Trump to consider disaster declaration
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Democrats are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE to immediately consider a disaster declaration to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Doing so would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to utilize $42 billion available in the disaster relief fund to assist state and local governments in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. 

“It is crucial that your administration employ a whole-of-government approach in responding to COVID-19. This includes working closely with state, local, and tribal officials and providing necessary resources to those on the frontlines,” Democrats wrote in a letter to Trump Wednesday. 

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“We strongly urge FEMA to stand ready to provide emergency protective measures to prevent and mitigate the spread of disease, save lives, and protect public health and safety, should any state request assistance," they added.

The letter is signed by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPostal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period A three-trillion dollar stimulus, but Charles Schumer for renewable energy — leading businesses want to change that Democrats try to force Trump to boost medical supplies production MORE (D-N.Y.) and 35 Senate Democrats.

Trump is scheduled to deliver a statement Wednesday in the Oval Office at 9 p.m. ET regarding the crisis. 

The administration is said to be considering a national emergency declaration to free up additional resources to fight the coronavirus. 

An official for the White House was not immediately available for comment in response to the Democrats’ letter. 

The push for a disaster declaration comes as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. rose to more than 1,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

The World Health Organization officially called the outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday, as Johns Hopkins’s database shows more than 125,000 cases have been reported globally.