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April 18, 2020

U.S. Announces $19 billion Coronavirus Aid for Farmers and the Poor

This Day in History | 1908

An earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco, killing an estimated 3,000 people.

U.S. Announces $19 Billion Coronavirus Aid for Farmers, Food Buys for Poor

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday announced a $19 billion relief program to help U.S. farmers cope with the impact of the coronavirus, including $16 billion in direct payments to producers and mass purchases of meat, dairy, vegetables and other products.

The U.S. Agriculture Department is partnering with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion in such farm goods to be distributed to food banks, churches and aid groups as millions of Americans face unemployment with much of the economy shut down. 

“American agriculture has been hard-hit, like most of America, with the coronavirus, and President Trump is standing with our farmers and all Americans to make sure that we all get through this national emergency,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a White House news conference.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis Gives some Green Light to Reopen Some FL Beaches

(CNBC) – Florida’s governor on Friday gave the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen if it can be done safely, and north Florida beaches became among the first to allow people to return since closures because of the coronavirus.

Mayor Lenny Curry said Duval County beaches were reopening Friday afternoon with restricted hours, and they can only be used for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing.

The beaches will be open from 6 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m., Curry said in a video posted to social media. Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited and people must still practice social distancing.

“Folks, this could be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life, but please respect and follow these limitations,” Curry said. “We’ll get back to life as we know it, but we must be patient.”

Florida officials were criticized for leaving beaches open during part of the spring break period last month. Most counties closed their beaches in response or kept them open under very restrictive conditions. Other more high-profile beaches in South Florida — including Miami Beach — were closed by state order.

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Why Trump Needs to Worry About Florida

(The Hill) –  Since 1900, Floridians have voted for the winning president 76 percent of the time. In 2020, any hopes of Republicans retaining the White House rest on Florida. The state is the largest bellwether in national politics. Its 29 electoral votes have been the deciding factor in numerous federal elections. In 2016, Donald Trump won Florida by a little more than one point. In 2018, Ron DeSantis won governor by less than half of one point.

While President Trump may have a 93 percent approval rating in the state of Florida, a recent average of polls by Real Clear Politics has him losing the state to Joe Biden by the same four-tenths of a percentage point that Ron DeSantis beat Andrew Gillum. An atrociously irresponsible response to the coronavirus outbreak, by both the Governor and the President, could turn Florida blue for the first time since 2012, when Barack Obama won the state.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Trump repeatedly took credit for improving an economy that began its period of recovery under Barack Obama’s administration. As the Washington Post noted, “Obama’s last three years in office had growth rates of at least 2.17% and as high as 3.06%. For Trump the high point was 2.83% in 2018 when the tax cut seems to have had the largest impact and even fell short of Obama’s 2014 and 2015 growth rates of 3.06% and 3.05%, respectively.”

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