The White House this week asked Congress for emergency funds to prepare a response to a potential surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. But Democrats on the Hill say more will be needed.
The White House on Monday asked Congress for $1.8 billion in emergency spending to respond to the coronavirus epidemic spreading across the globe.
The request includes $1.25 billion in new spending for the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the ability to use $535 million in previously appropriated funds set aside to fight the Ebola virus. The spending request would give HHS flexibility in its response, but much of the funding would be used for vaccines and vaccine development.
“To this point, no agency has been inhibited in response efforts due to resources or authorities,” acting White House Office of Management and Budget director Russell Vought wrote to members of Congress. “The administration believes additional federal resources are necessary to take steps to prepare for a potential worsening of the situation in the United States.”
House Democrats have been urging the Trump administration to mount a more aggressive coronavirus response for weeks and said this week that a more robust package is likely needed to ensure adequate resources are in place.
“The Trump administration’s request for emergency funding is woefully insufficient to protect Americans from the deadly coronavirus outbreak,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY). “House Democrats will move quickly to enact a robust package that fully addresses this global emergency without allowing this administration to steal from other necessary programs.”