03.04.20

Leahy Releases Bipartisan Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2020) – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) WEDNESDAY released the bipartisan, bicameral, coronavirus emergency supplemental Appropriations bill.  Leahy was a lead negotiator in the $7.8 billion package to address the expanding public health crisis as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and the globe. The agreement also includes a $500 million authorization for a telehealth program over a 10 year period.

Leahy said:  “What the House is introducing today is vastly different from the $1.25 billion, poorly thought out proposal from the Trump Administration.  Where President Trump’s proposal would rob Peter to pay Paul, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from funds meant to contain an Ebola outbreak and programs the American people rely on like the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), our agreement provides $7.8 billion in new, emergency funding to address this public health threat without raiding these important programs.   

“As we confront this crisis, it is important to remember that we are not Republicans or Democrats in this matter.  We are Americans.  I have been here long enough to see that when we come together, the Senate can be the conscience of the nation.  Now is one of those times.  I look forward to working with Chairman Shelby to shepherd this bipartisan, bicameral proposal through our chamber and to the President.” 

The package will help to fund the federal, state, and local response to the coronavirus public health crisis, including more than $3 billion for the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics; more than $2 billion to help federal, state, local, and tribal governments prevent, prepare, and respond to the crisis; and nearly $1 billion to invest in healthcare preparedness, purchase critical pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and support community health centers.  Importantly, this bill includes $300 million to ensure that vaccines developed with the support of federal dollars remain affordable to those most in need.  

Unlike President Trump’s proposal, the bipartisan package provides hundreds of millions of dollars to address the spread of the coronavirus abroad.  It is a bipartisan, bicameral, emergency appropriations bill designed to address the threat of the novel coronavirus in a comprehensive way.

A summary of the package is available here: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/download/coronavirus-summary-asdf-

Text of the supplemental is available here: https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20200302/BILLS-116hr6074-SUS.pdf

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