A spokesman for the Department of Education said that under the new policy, any borrower with a federal loan – including those in repayment based on income and in tolerance – will have interest waived until the end of the temporary policy. The spokesman added that the department does not know exactly how long the policy will remain in effect.
The interest will automatically be lifted, the spokesman said, and the policy will take effect approximately the following week, retroactive to the President’s announcement on Friday.
Emergency orders, Trump said, “will give broad new authorities” to health and human services secretary Alex Azar.
Azar will be able to “waive the provisions of applicable laws and regulations to offer doctors, hospitals – all hospitals – and healthcare professionals maximum flexibility to respond to the virus,” added Trump.
In a statement Friday, Azar praised Trump’s statement for conferring “important HHS powers to improve the ability of state and local communities to respond to the outbreak, including the flexibility of the Medicare and Medicaid rules.”
“The whole Trump administration, including our HHS leaders, is identifying every flexibility we can offer and every obstacle we can eliminate to help those on the front lines protect Americans from this outbreak,” added Azar.
The emergency declaration would also make funding available and would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to guide specific parts of the coronavirus response.
In addition, the President said he directed the energy secretary “to buy large quantities of crude oil for US strategic reserves”, stating that the move was “something that wouldn’t even have been possible a week ago”.
Oil prices have plummeted in recent days, particularly when demand for jet fuel has plummeted as global travel slows dramatically between bans on international movements.
“So we’ll fill it, it’s a good time to fill it,” said Trump of strategic oil reserves.
Kevin Liptak, Jason Hoffman, Betsy Klein and Ross Levitt of CNN contributed to this report.