White House $46 billion emergency request balloons to $242 billion in Senate coronavirus stimulus talks

Greg Nash

A $46 billion emergency supplemental funding proposal the White House budget office submitted to Congress last week to battle the coronavirus outbreak has ballooned to $242 billion in the Senate amid frenzied negotiations.

A summary of the supplemental spending legislation provided to stakeholders by the Senate Appropriations Committee says it would provide $75 billion for hospitals, $20 billion for veterans’ health care, $11 billion for vaccines, therapies and diagnostics and $4.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

A Senate GOP aide confirmed the document’s accuracy. 

More than 75 percent of the $242 package — approximately $186 billion — will go to state and local governments, fulfilling a central Democratic demand to bail out cash-strapped states such as New York.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) confirmed Saturday afternoon that the emergency supplemental spending package, which the White House budget office requested last week, would be added to the mammoth stimulus package being negotiated in the Senate.

“We’re going to be part of it,” Shelby said of adding the supplemental to the stimulus. “We’ll have to put it all together. We’re trying to put it all together.”

He warned “it will be a good bit of money.”

The supplemental would also provide $20 billion for public transportation emergency relief, $10 billion for airports and $5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund, according to the summary document. 

Other items include $12 billion to the Pentagon, $10 billion in block grants to states, $12 billion for K-12 education and $6 billion for higher education.

The pending Senate appropriations measure is significantly larger than the $45.8 billion request the Office of Management and Budget submitted earlier this week to “address ongoing preparedness and response efforts.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has scheduled a procedural vote to advance the legislation even though Democratic leaders haven’t yet signed off.

“It would be best for the country if the House would take it up and pass it,” he said Sunday.

A huge chunk of the money, $119.4 billion, would go to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies.

The Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and related agencies would receive $48.5 billion. 

Tags Coronavirus Mitch McConnell Richard Shelby
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