Trump asking $46 billion more to fight COVID-19: report

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Embattled President Donald Trump has sent Congress a $46 billion emergency funding request to battle the rapidly escalating coronavirus crisis, according to an Associated Press report. (Pixabay)

Embattled President Donald Trump has sent Congress yet another emergency funding request to battle the rapidly escalating coronavirus crisis, this one amounting to $46 billion, according to an Associated Press report.

The emergency funding request, separate from a $1 trillion coronavirus economic relief package proposed Tuesday, would reportedly include direct funding for agencies helping fight the coronavirus and reverse cuts proposed just last month to the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the Associated Press report, the bill would allocate more than $20 billion for the military and for veteran’s health care. It would fund production of vaccines and treatments, give Amtrak a $500 million bail-out to fight revenue losses, and build 13 quarantine centers along the southern border to care for migrants in the U.S. illegally.

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The bill would reportedly allocate $8 billion for the Pentagon’s emergency response fund, $3 billion for unanticipated emergencies, and $475 million for steps to make federal buildings safer.

The bill reportedly includes $800 million for the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to build up to nine quarantine facilities to care for migrants and to repurpose four ICE detention centers into dedicated quarantine facilities. Also, more than $5 billion would go to produce virus vaccines and treatments, with the CDC getting an immediate cash infusion for its ongoing efforts to battle coronavirus.

The $46 billion request is the largest bill, asides from the economic relief package, being considered to battle coronavirus. Congress has already passed $8 billion to fight the virus and a second coronavirus response bill—to boost testing and sick leave—could pass the Senate on Wednesday, according to the report.

The emergency CDC funding would reverse cuts proposed to that agency, which White House budget office Russell Vought reportedly recently declined to back away from.

“The Administration is driving a whole-of-Government response that puts the health of the American people first,” Vought reportedly wrote in a letter transmitting the request to Congress. “The aim of this request is to maintain that capacity and ensure that resource needs created by the pandemic response are met.”

According to the Associated Press report, Vought reiterated that the proposed $46 billion request is unrelated to the massive $1 trillion economic relief package. Such a bill would likely generate rounds of discussion before it could receive approval.

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