It’s been coronavirus news all day, all the time. The effort of the U.S. federal government to get a handle on COVID-19 dominates all public policy in Washington. With this week’s steep market decline making action essential, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi unveiled a bill Wednesday night that has become the focus of negotiations between the White House, represented by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, and the House Democrats.

Friday, President Trump declared national emergency in response to coronavirus. This could be in reaction to the poor response to his speech on Wednesday. A declaration of a national emergency allows him to issue wider executive orders and use FEMA. This is a sharp turnabout in White House strategy after weeks of declaring there is low risk for most Americans, a statement he made as recently as his Wednesday night speech.

The bill is aimed at providing immediate relief to those who miss work due to the virus, get sick and need testing or hospital care, through an infusion of funding to state unemployment funds, and a boost in food assistance programs. In the negotiations the Speaker agreed to have the sick leave provisions sunset with the end of the coronavirus crisis and also agreed to the so-called Hyde Amendment language that has traditionally be...

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