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House passes $8.3 billion for coronavirus

It now moves on to the Senate

Updated: March 5, 2020 - 7:18am

The House on Wednesday passed a $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to fight and contain the coronavirus.

The deal still must pass the Senate, which could vote on the legislation as soon as Thursday, allowing Congress to send the bill to President Trump's desk by end of week.

The president last week asked Congress to appropriate roughly $1.8 billion in emergency funding -- $1.25 billion and roughly $500 million from and Ebola prevention and care fund. 

The request was widely criticized by congressional Democrats who said as much as $8 billion was needed to fight the virus, which is now being attributed to nine U.S. deaths and 3,043 worldwide.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the chamber's top Republican, said Tuesday that the Democrat-controlled House should be able to approve the bill no later than Thursday, sending it to the Senate for final approval.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the chamber’s top Democrat, has also expressed a willingness for the GOP-controlled chamber to pass the measure by week’s end.

The Trump administration has been on sidelines, poised to help negotiate a deal in the divided Congress.

“We stand ready to work closely with Congress on an emergency funding package and any other related issues,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Capitol Hill lawmakers on Tuesday.


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