Warren introduces bill to redirect wall money to coronavirus

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-Mass.) introduced legislation on Thursday to redirect border wall funding to combating the coronavirus.

The bill, according to Warren’s office, would result in approximately $10 billion being shifted from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“Rather than use taxpayer dollars to pay for a monument to hate and division, my bill will help ensure that the federal government has the resources it needs to adequately respond to this emergency,” the 2020 Democratic hopeful said in a statement. 

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The White House has suggested $2.5 billion to combat the coronavirus, while Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Schumer doubles down in call for Trump to name coronavirus supply czar Trump lashes out at Schumer over call for supply czar MORE (D-N.Y.) is requesting $8.5 billion. 

What number lawmakers will end up at as they negotiate on a supplemental bill remains unclear.

“The United States government must do more to address the spread of the deadly coronavirus in a smart, strategic, and serious way and we stand ready to work in a bipartisan fashion in Congress and with the administration to achieve this necessary goal,” Schumer and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says he opposes mail-in voting for November On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans The bipartisan neutering of the Congressional Budget Office MORE (D-Calif.) said on Thursday in a joint statement.

“Lives are at stake — this is not the time for name-calling or playing politics,” they added.

Top Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyPelosi scales back coronavirus infrastructure proposal Democrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Top GOP lawmakers push back on need for special oversight committee for coronavirus aid MORE (R-Calif.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Coronavirus bill includes more than billion in SNAP funding MORE (R-Ala.) — have also indicated that they want a higher number than the initial White House offer. 

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans 13 things to know for today about coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) characterized the White House figure as an “initial request.”

“It’s our job to ensure that funding is not a limiting factor as public health leaders and front-line medical professionals continue getting ready,” he said.

The haggling over funding comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday announced the first case of coronavirus in the United States with an “unknown” origin. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE, meanwhile, has announced that Vice President Pence will oversee the government’s effort to combat the coronavirus.