President Trump signs $8.3b coronavirus emergency funding bill

Friday, March 6, 2020

Source: MassDevice

President Donald Trump today signed an $8.3 billion emergency package to help address the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus.

According to a report by Politico, about $7.7 billion of that $8.3 billion is slated for discretionary spending to improve vaccine development, research, equipment stockpiles and both state and local health budgets.

About $2.2 billion is reportedly set to go toward prevention preparation, while more than $3 billion is slated for vaccine research. The federal government plans to send more than $400 million to state and local governments within 30 days of the bill’s enacting, as each state is set for a windfall of no less than $4 million.

Politico also said $3.1 billion will be provided to increase medical supplies and supplement the Strategic National Stockpile. About $100 million is set for community health centers and $826 million will go to the National Insitute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for developing vaccines, treatments and tests, according to the report.

The additional $500 million is expected to go toward waivers for Medicare telehealth restrictions, allowing beneficiaries to consult doctors remotely to avoid offices where there could be exposure to the virus.

“So, we’re signing the $8.3 billion,” Trump said in his remarks at the bill-signing. “I asked for $2.5 [billion] and I got $8.3 [billion], and I’ll take it.”

Trump was initially expected to sign the bill at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta but canceled due to a suspected coronavirus case at the CDC. That potential case turned out to be negative, so Trump said he may still go at some point.

According to NBC News, the coronavirus death toll rose to 14 in the U.S. today, with more than 225 cases confirmed across the country. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reportedly announced that more than 100,000 people have been infected worldwide.

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