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Group of House Democrats asks for $250 billion for testing

Group of House Democrats asks for $250 billion for testing
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A trio of House Democrats on Thursday asked leaders on both sides of the aisle to include $250 billion for coronavirus testing in any upcoming coronavirus relief bill.

In a letter signed by Reps. Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida Texas Democrat proposes COVID-19 victims' compensation fund MORE (D-Texas), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonWhy the Supreme Court must be kept at nine justices Kate Schroder in Ohio among Democratic challengers squelching GOP hopes for the House The Hill's Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida MORE (D-Minn.) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), the lawmakers said "testing is the number one way to give us an objective, data-driven assessment of where we stand in our fight against this virus."

The lawmakers said funding testing and a viable contact tracing system is up to Congress, as the Trump administration "has failed to develop a national action plan."

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"While we have made some gains in our nation’s testing capacity, with numbers now at 1.6 million diagnostic tests per week, health care experts say we are still woefully short of the estimated 30 million tests per week needed," they wrote.

The three Democrats said "Americans must feel a sense of security" before the economy reopens successfully.

Under their plan, testing would be prioritized for "health care workers on the frontlines, law enforcement, minority communities, seniors and food and agriculture workers as well as those showing symptoms."

The lawmakers said those groups would benefit most from extra testing, as they've been the most affected.

"As we have seen, essential workers and seniors are bearing the brunt of the impact of this virus, while minority communities have been disproportionately affected," they wrote.

The proposal would be pegged to an upcoming Democratic coronavirus response bill that Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts The 2016 and 2020 Senate votes are about the same thing: constitutionalist judges Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking MORE (D-N.Y.) has labeled "Rooseveltian" in size.