President Donald Trump on Friday announced that he has waived interest payments on all federal student loans to help alleviate financial strain as the United States combats the spread of the coronavirus.
“To help our students and our families, I’ve waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies,” President Trump said, adding that the measure will be until further notice. “That’s a big thing for a lot of students who are left in the middle right now,” he added. “Many of those schools have been closed.”
Earlier Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he would propose in a meeting with the president that temporary student loan suspension be considered. “I can tell you that’s on our list of 50 different items we’re bringing to the president for a decision, so that will be something that we’re looking at,” he told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “We have lots of authorities. Things were we don’t have authorities, we’re going to work with both the House and the Senate on a bipartisan basis. I can assure you that the president is all about action, action, action.”
As part of his White House Rose Garden speech, President Trump declared a national state of emergency, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to access billions of dollars.
“We’ve been working very hard on this, we’ve made tremendous progress,” the president said, referencing his travel restrictions on China and most of Europe. “No resources will be spared, nothing whatsoever.”
President Trump said that officials are working to set up drive-thru test sites in portions of parking lots provided by Walmart.
“Portions of the parking lot will be available in select locations in the beginning and scaling over time as supply increases so can people can experience the drive-thru experience that the President described,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said. “We will stay involved and do everything we can from a supply chain point of view to be of assistance.”
The president also announced that the Department of Energy will purchase crude oil for storage in U.S. reserves.
“Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus,” said the president. “This will pass … and we’ll be even stronger for it.”