Updated Mar 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump signs $8 billion emergency coronavirus funding package

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump signed Friday a bipartisan $8 billion deal to provide emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The Senate passed the bill 96-1 on Thursday, after it flew through the House 415-2 on Wednesday afternoon — marking a rare moment of congressional unity in the face of a public health crisis.

  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) were the only members of Congress to vote against the package.
  • Paul, a deficit hawk, sought to introduce an amendment that would take the funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, but it was voted down 80-16.

The bill includes:

  • $3 billion for developing treatments, including $300 million for the government to purchase drugs from manufacturers at “fair and reasonable” prices.
  • $2.2 billion for public health measures to help prevent its spread.
  • More than $1 billion to be sent overseas.

What they're saying: "This should not be about politics. This is about doing our job to protect the American people from a potential pandemic," said Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), per NBC News.

  • "We worked together to craft an aggressive and comprehensive response that provides the resources the experts say they need to combat this crisis. I thank my colleagues for their cooperation and appreciate President Trump’s eagerness to sign this legislation and get the funding out the door without delay," Shelby said.

The state of play: The agreed-upon package is larger than the $2.5 billion that the Trump administration had originally asked for to combat the virus — and slightly less than the $8.5 billion counter offered up by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

  • The deal comes as the virus continues to spread domestically, with more than 100 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.

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