Congress puts $7.8B bill to fight coronavirus on fast track

A bipartisan congressional deal to spend nearly $8 billion in emergency funds to combat the U.S. coronavirus outbreak is on the fast track for a vote this week, CNN reports.

The bill would pour $7.8 billion into fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and another $500 million into a telehealth program to help seniors access health services.

The $7.8 billion emergency funding includes $3 billion to fund research and development for vaccines and diagnostic tests and $2.2 billion for preparedness and response efforts.

The House unveiled the bill March 4, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said lawmakers would vote on the bill later in the day.

The Senate will take up the bill soon after, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said March 4 that his goal is to pass it this week.

"Our goal would be to do it this week, if we get cooperation," Mr. McConnell said, according to the report.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation.

The nearly $8 billion bill far outstrips the $2.5 billion the White House requested Feb. 25.

Update: The House passed a $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to combact the COVID-19 outbreak March 4, hours after bipartisan leaders reached a deal, the New York Times reports. 



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