Stimulus checks, national stay-at-home order and a Navy ship infected with COVID-19: Senator Warner weighs in

Virginia News

(WRIC) — National stay-at-home?

8News spoke extensively with Virginia Senator Mark Warner Thursday about the pandemic, the U.S. response and your stimulus checks. Warner told 8News he is begging President Donald Trump for a national stay-at-home order. The Senator says he knows staying at home is a hassle and most definitely a challenge on our U.S. economy but he says we need to slow the spread of this virus.

Right now, it has been up to the states to come up with their own rules during this pandemic. The rules vary.

Thirty-eight states including Virginia have stay-at-home orders. In some states it may be just a city or county on lockdown. In Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota there are no stay-at-home orders or business closures in place. Warner says, “We absolutely need a national stay-at-home. We have seen this virus now hit in country after country. The only way that we seem to be able to slow the growth of the virus or flatten the curve as the term is, is these national stay-at-homes.”

Sen. Mark Warner weighs in on national stay-at-home order

There is some question about whether the President could even legally issue a national stay-at-home order. Guidelines published in 2014 by the Congressional Research Service, a federal research agency, found state and local governments have the primary authority to control the spread of disease.

Of course, these are some unusual times.

Regardless, Warner believes there’s some tough questions that need answering once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

“I also think after the virus is behind us we need to find out why America was not better prepared,” he said. “We need to find out why America didn’t join with 67 other countries in January when the WHO (World Health Organization) adopted a testing regime.”

Your Stimulus Check

Senator Warner shared new information on when and how Americans will get their cash from the federal stimulus package.

He told 8News the vast majority of payments will be made through direct deposit. The Treasury Secretary expects the first payments to go out within three weeks. For those wondering what happens with social security and disability recipients who don’t usually file tax returns? In a reversal of what the IRS originally said, Senator Warner confirmed you will not have to file a form with the IRS. He says the government knows how to find you and will use your social security number to get you your payment. The treasury says it will be a $1200 payment.

Overall, Senator Warner believes this stimulus is going to be a big help to Americans out of work.

“We are finally, for the first time, our country will cover not only traditional W-2 full time workers but we will independent contractors, gig workers, people who driver Uber and Lyft, part-time workers,” Warner said.

The Senator also told 8News from now until July 31, anyone getting unemployment will get a $600 per week bump up in addition to their traditional unemployment check.

USS Theodore Roosevelt

8News also spoke to the Senator about the USS Theodore Roosevelt, originally based in Virginia, where more than 100 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19. The Navy Captain who asked for help for his crew stuck on an aircraft carrier was dismissed Thursday. However, even before that Senator Warner was calling on the military for action.

“We need more transparency from the Navy and the Department of Defense,” he told 8News.

Warner adds that he agrees with the commanding officer who was just relieved of his duties. He had said 90% of the sailors need to be moved off that ship. The vessel is currently docked in Guam and has a crew of more than 4,000 aboard.

Senator Warner along with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy with a series of questions. They write, “As you are aware, there are countless Virginians with family members serving aboard Navy warships who are all concerned about the health and well-being of their loved ones. If the sailors are taken off the ship where are they going to go? Is there place a where they can be kept in quarantine where they are not going to be exposing family members,” asks Warner.

The Navy Secretary Thomas Modly says the Navy has accelerated testing and is deep cleaning all spaces on the ship.

Watch the complete interview with Virginia Senator Mark Warner

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