President Trump on Friday signed a bill providing $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
The bill provides $7.76 billion to federal, state and local agencies to combat the coronavirus and authorizes an additional $500 million in waivers for Medicare telehealth restrictions.
Trump was originally expected to sign the bill at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday but abruptly canceled his trip there.
He told reporters Friday morning that the trip was canceled because of a suspected coronavirus case at the CDC itself but that it turned out to be negative. The president said he may still visit the headquarters. The Hill
The Senate passed the legislation in a 96-1 vote a day after the House quickly and overwhelmingly passed it in a 415-2 vote and it now goes to President Donald Trump’s desk. Appropriators had released details of the bipartisan, bicameral agreement only hours earlier on Wednesday.
The spending measure would provide $7.8 billion to fight the new coronavirus and include a mandatory funding authorization for $500 million over 10 years to be used toward a remote health care program.
Negotiators said it also includes a provision that would require that funds are used only to combat the coronavirus and other infectious diseases, as some Democrats feared that the Trump administration could raid the funding and use it for other unrelated purposes.
The legislation would provide more than $2 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response.
It also would allocate more than $3 billion to a public health emergency fund and the National Institutes of Health to research and develop vaccines, treatment, and testing of the coronavirus. The bill would also provide nearly $1.3 billion to help protect the health of Americans living abroad from the virus.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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