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 LoweyLobbying world Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Biden needs to tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs MORE (D-N.Y.) and Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroProgressives say go big and make life hard for GOP EPA closer to unveiling plan for tackling 'forever chemicals' House sends bill to Biden to avert government shutdown at midnight 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.
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 TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event 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.