Trump administration is asking Congress for $2.5 billion to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus, including more than $1 billion for vaccines, the White House announced yesterday.
As financial markets fall on concerns that the virus could have a significant impact on the global economy, the Trump administration is eager to show its willingness to fight the virus despite the limited number of cases so far in the United States.
The virus has spread to some 29 countries and territories outside China, with outbreaks in South Korea, Iran and Italy.
"Trump administration continues to take the spread of COVID-19 seriously," said a Spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget. Today, the administration is referring to Congress a $2.5 billion supplemental funding plan to accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities, and purchase much-needed equipment and supplies.
The White House said the money will be used for treatment, vaccine development and storage of personal protective equipment such as masks.
Of the $2.5 billion in demand, $1.5 billion represents new funding. The rest comes from funds already budgeted by Congress, such as funds not used to fight Ebola. The administration needs congressional approval to redirect those funds to fight the coronavirus.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said trump's supplemental funding is totally inadequate for the magnitude of this emergency," adding that the House of Representatives will quickly come up with a strong strategic funding package that fully addresses the scale and seriousness of the crisis.
There have been 53 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States so far -- 14 of the people diagnosed in the United States and 39 of the Americans returned from the center of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and from the cruise ship Princess Diamond, which has been quarantined in Japan, according to to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.