Fighting a virus takes coordination, supplies, manpower, and a lot of cash.
A legislative committee struck a deal on an $8.3 billion funding package to help control the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, and to develop a vaccine. Now that lawmakers agree on the provisions, the bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives. If it passes, it will move to the Senate before going to the president for his signature.
A House Democratic aide said the bill would devote $8.3 billion for a series of government-sponsored initiatives, including expanding testing for the virus, which has been contracted by at least 129 people in the United States.
There have been nine U.S. deaths so far, all of them in the Seattle area.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey in a statement:
“We must quickly enact this legislation. Lives are at stake.”
More than $3 billion would be devoted to research and development of coronavirus vaccines, test kits and therapeutics. In a bid to also help control the spread of the virus outside the United States, $1.25 billion would be available for international efforts.
State and local governments would receive $950 million to support their work in combating the respiratory disease that has killed more than 3,000 worldwide.
The bill includes more than $300 million to help cover the costs of any vaccine for those who cannot afford it.