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Lawmakers reach roughly $8-billion deal on emergency coronavirus aid package

A shelf of sold-out protective masks and low supply of protective gloves at a CVS in Oakland on Feb. 27.
A shelf of sold-out protective masks and low supply of protective gloves at a CVS in Oakland on Feb. 27.
(John G. Mabanglo / EPA/Shutterstock)

House lawmakers on Wednesday agreed to a deal to allocate roughly $8 billion to help the federal government fight the coronavirus, which has killed at least nine people and infected more than 100 in the United States, according to the office of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).

The House is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday before it goes to the Republican-controlled Senate later in the day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is “optimistic” lawmakers can approve legislation this week and send it to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.

The bipartisan measure includes funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, which houses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. It also includes money to help develop a vaccine for protective and medical equipment, as well as aid to state and local governments dealing with the virus.

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Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday the bill will include $950 million for state and local governments, including $350 million for “hot spot” areas affected by the outbreak, $500 million for masks, protective equipment and other medical supplies for states, local governments and hospitals, and $100 million for community health centers and funding for training and beds.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) proposed supplemental legislation that would provide more than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines. Lowey said the House Democrats’ proposal would allow seniors to access telemedicine services for treatment and help ensure affordable vaccines and treatments.


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