Trump Signs $8.3 Billion Coronavirus Emergency Funding Into Law

President Donald Trump signs the bill as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar watches March 6, 2020, at the White House. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

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Legislation to provide $8.3 billion for public health initiatives meant to tackle the spread of the coronavirus was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 6.

The law provides emergency funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Food and Drug Administration, among other agencies.

“It’s an unforeseen problem; what a problem. It came out of nowhere. But we’re taking care of it,” Trump said at the bill’s signing at the White House.

Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriations Act Summary by Transport Topics on Scribd

En route to the president’s desk this week, the measure had garnered overwhelming bipartisan backing on Capitol Hill.

“While the Trump administration has repeatedly demonstrated a failure to understand public health needs, Congress is acting with the seriousness and sense of urgency the coronavirus threat demands,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said March 4.

“I am pleased Congress has swiftly passed this emergency supplemental to combat the dangerous coronavirus. It includes what our experts say they need. It attacks the crisis at the local, state, federal and international levels. And it brings to bear the full resources of the federal government,” added Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on March 5.

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A task force led by Vice President Mike Pence includes the secretaries of the departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury and Veterans Affairs, as well as Joel Szabat, acting under secretary for policy at the Department of Transportation.

“The truth is that the risk of contracting the coronavirus to the average American remains low, according to all the health experts that I have here with me today and that are a part of our efforts at the national and state level,” Pence said at an event in Tacoma, Wash., on March 5.

According to CDC, 99 cases of individuals with COVID-19, the disease resulting from the virus, have been reported as of March 5. States reporting cases include North Carolina, New Hampshire, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Ten individuals were determined to have died from the COVID-19 virus.

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