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Democrats urge emergency funding for coronavirus outbreak

Democrats urge emergency funding for coronavirus outbreak
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House Democrats on Tuesday urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to request a package of emergency supplemental funding to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

“Further resources will be necessary to support an aggressive and comprehensive government-wide response to the 2019 novel Coronavirus, both domestically and internationally,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyBiden aide: First Cabinet picks will be announced Tuesday, GSA holdup preventing background checks US economy hurtles toward 'COVID cliff' with programs set to expire Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) and Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations DeLauro racks up labor endorsements for Appropriations gavel MORE (D-Conn.) wrote Azar in a letter.

“We strongly urge the Administration to transmit a request to Congress for emergency supplemental appropriations to respond to this public health emergency. We urge the Administration to submit the emergency supplemental request no later than Monday, February 10, along with its submittal of the fiscal year 2021 President’s Budget,” they added.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is already depleting the $105 million rapid response fund, and on Sunday Azar notified Congress that the department was looking at transferring $136 million from other programs. Azar can only transfer the funds 15 days after notifying Congress, on Monday, February 17.

Democrats are seeking additional funding in part to ensure that the administration does not transfer funds from priority programs important to Democrats, such as National Institutes of Health or Head Start programs.

On Friday, President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE declared a public health emergency, and banned foreign nationals who had recently traveled to China from entering the U.S.

HHS said on Tuesday it was collaborating with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals on a coronavirus treatment.

China's latest figures estimated that 20,000 people had been infected with the virus, leading to 425 deaths.