President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 12 people in the U.S. and infected more than 200, ONA reports citing Fox News.
The legislation provides federal public health agencies with money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments and helps state and local governments prepare and respond to the threat. The rapid spread of the virus has rocked financial markets, interrupted travel and threatens to affect everyday life in the United States.
Trump had planned to sign the bill during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Vice President Mike Pence said late Thursday on his trip to Washington state, where 11 of the victims have died. But the White House said Friday that Trump would no longer visit the agency because he “does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency.”
The Senate passed the $8.3 billion measure Thursday to help tackle the outbreak in hopes of reassuring a fearful public and accelerating the government’s response to the virus. Its rapid spread is threatening to upend everyday life in the U.S. and across the globe.
The money would pay for a multifaceted attack on a virus that is spreading more widely every day, sending financial markets spiraling again Thursday, disrupting travel and potentially threatening the U.S. economy’s decade-long expansion.
Thursday’s sweeping 96-1 vote sends the bill to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., cast the sole “no” vote. The House passed the bill Wednesday by a 415-2 vote.
The plan would more than triple the $2.5 billion amount outlined by the White House 10 days ago. The Trump proposal was immediately discarded by members of Congress from both parties. Instead, the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations committees negotiated the increased figure and other provisions of the legislation in a burst of bipartisan cooperation that’s common on the panel but increasingly rare elsewhere in Washington.
“In situations like this, I believe no expense should be spared to protect the American people, and in crafting this package none was,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. “It’s an aggressive plan, a vigorous plan that has received an overwhelming positive reaction.”
Trump was sure to sign the measure, which has almost universal support. It is intended to project confidence and calm as anxiety builds over the impact of the virus, which has claimed 12 lives in the U.S.
“The American people are looking for leadership and want assurance that their government is up to the task of protecting their health and safety,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
The impact of the outbreak continues to mount. The British government is considering suspending Parliament for five months in hope of limiting the spread of the virus in the United Kingdom.
The legislation would provide federal public health agencies money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments, including $300 million to deliver such drugs to those who need it. More than $2 billion would go to help federal, state and local governments prepare for and respond to the coronavirus threat. An additional $1.3 billion would be used to help fight the virus overseas. There’s also funding to subsidize $7 billion in small business loans.