House passes bipartisan $8.3B bill to battle coronavirus

Posted at 12:53 PM, Mar 04, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The House has easily passed an $8.3 billion measure to battle the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. The sweeping bipartisan vote came just nine days after President Donald Trump requested action.

The legislation came together unusually quickly, a rarity in a deeply polarized Washington.

The legislation more than triples the $2.5 billion plan unveiled by Trump just last week. It would speed development of vaccines and new medicines to battle the virus, pay for containment operations, and beef up preparedness.

Trump is expected to sign the measure, which has the blessing of top Republicans. Next up is the GOP-controlled Senate, which hopes to pass the bill Thursday for Trump's signature.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention would receive about $2.2 billion of the funding, while $3.1 billion would go to a public health and social services emergency fund, according to The Washington Post.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer says “there is no reason to be penny-wise and pound-foolish” when it comes to Americans' health.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 11 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, the illness associated with the new virus. All but one were in Washington state.

Worldwide, more than 3,200 people have died from COVID-19, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins. Most of those deaths were in mainland China, where the virus is believed to have originated.

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