BILL FOR MORE THAN $7 BILLION SHOULD PASS FOR FUNDING TO COMBAT VIRUS

The Bill, negotiated today by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), provides $7.76 billion to combat the coronavirus, which is three times the $2.5 billion initially requested by the White House.

Shelby said, “This should not be about politics, but doing our job to protect the American people.  We have worked together to provide the resources the experts say they need to combat the crisis.”
  
The House had noted in a scheduling update this morning that they expected to consider the bill by the end of the day. There were still signs of delays, particularly over vaccine affordability, as both sides spent much of the morning accusing the other of playing politics. 
 
Also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said “he had heard that the Democratic leadership may be thinking about a last minute demand that this funding legislation also test drive some untried and untested controversial parts of their ‘Medicare for All’ proposal that relates to pricing of new drugs and innovations.”

The bill, as it is written now, would include $3 billion for the Department of Health and Human Service’s Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, which in that is included $300 million specifically for purchasing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.  This should also ensure that when a vaccine is developed, Americans can receive it regardless of their ability to pay, and also the federal government would only pay a fair and reasonable price for the vaccine.

The hope is to get the bill passed and President Trump is expected to sign the bill once it passes Congress and get the funding out the door without delay.

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