Deal reached on bipartisan $8.3B bill to battle coronavirus

Capitol Hill negotiators have reached an agreement on an $8.3 billion measure to battle the coronavirus outbreak that’s spreading and threatening a major shock to the economy and disruptions to everyday life in the U.S.

Posted: Mar 4, 2020 1:42 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Hill negotiators have reached an agreement on an $8.3 billion measure to battle the coronavirus outbreak that’s spreading and threatening a major shock to the economy and disruptions to everyday life in the U.S.

The House will vote on the deal later Wednesday and Senate leaders are pressing for a vote in that chamber by the end of the week. The agreement was announced by spokespersons for the house and Senate Appropriations panels who negotiated the legislation.

The legislation came together in little more than a week, a rarity in a deeply polarized Washington. It triples the $2.5 billion plan unveiled by President Donald Trump just last week.

Trump, however, is sure to sign the measure, which has the blessing of top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and top House Republican Kevin McCarthy of California.

“This moment calls for collaboration and unity,” McConnell said. “It’s time to give our public health experts and healthcare professionals the surge resources they need at this challenging time.”

The agreement came together after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dropped a demand, opposed by the drug industry, to guarantee that any vaccines and drug treatments developed with government-backed research — but manufactured by drug companies — be offered at “affordable” prices.

Instead, the agreement provides $300 million for the government to purchase such drugs at “fair and reasonable” prices to distribute them to those who need it — which is the standard applied in earlier crises like the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak.

The bipartisan legislation includes: $350 million to aggressively go after the virus in “hot spots” like Washington state; $500 million to buy drugs, masks, and other medical supplies for states, local governments and hospitals; $1 billion to reimburse state and local governments for costs incurred in battling the outbreak; and $300 million for the Centers for Disease Control’s rapid response fund.

More than $800 million would fund research into a vaccine, improved tests, and drugs to treat infected people. Another $1.3 billion would be used to help fight the virus overseas.

The agreement comes as the outbreak in the U.S. appears increasingly likely to affect workers who are instructed to stay home, immigrants who may fear seeking treatment because they are in the U.S. illegally, and the potential rapid spread among homeless people. Widespread school closures are possible as well.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is coordinating the administration’s response, is returning to Capitol Wednesday afternoon to separately brief House Democrats and Republicans.

Also Wednesday, top congressional leaders are meeting to discuss what additional steps may be needed to ensure the safety of the Capitol complex — for lawmakers and staff, as well as the annual influx of visitors this spring.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 290373

Reported Deaths: 8845
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1436345210
DuPage17471561
Lake16892487
Will13984378
Kane13092326
St. Clair6607190
Winnebago5959149
Madison5698136
Champaign470320
McHenry4581118
Peoria349450
McLean327923
Rock Island299576
Kankakee274177
Unassigned2537244
Sangamon241145
Kendall200925
Tazewell177425
LaSalle171257
DeKalb157938
Macon154444
Coles146430
Williamson140145
Jackson126124
Clinton116920
Boone112523
Adams112310
Randolph93911
Effingham8702
Vermilion7704
Whiteside74320
Ogle7106
Monroe67416
Knox6703
Grundy6695
Henry6665
Morgan66123
Bureau64111
Jefferson61138
Marion5540
Macoupin5447
Christian53911
Franklin5393
Stephenson5236
Union51524
McDonough48015
Logan4641
Crawford4503
Woodford4246
Fayette4183
Cass39811
Livingston3956
Jersey39215
Shelby3904
Montgomery37213
Lee3711
Iroquois36519
Perry35015
Saline3404
Warren3322
Bond3285
Douglas3127
Wayne2805
Jo Daviess2632
Lawrence2562
Carroll2305
Greene22711
Cumberland2175
Hancock2173
Moultrie2143
Jasper2119
Washington2111
Richland2095
Pulaski1801
Fulton1760
Clark1732
White1680
Johnson1560
Clay1540
Wabash1543
Mason1471
Piatt1400
Mercer1395
Pike1281
Menard1251
De Witt1221
Edgar1138
Massac1122
Ford1065
Marshall1040
Alexander811
Scott780
Gallatin732
Hamilton682
Henderson660
Edwards630
Brown610
Calhoun600
Putnam570
Stark552
Schuyler500
Hardin400
Pope291
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 117450

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21403766
Lake10618323
Elkhart6667111
St. Joseph6576110
Allen6292203
Hamilton4909109
Vanderburgh371931
Hendricks2747123
Monroe262736
Tippecanoe252313
Johnson2338124
Clark223657
Porter217647
Delaware198562
Cass19549
Vigo184327
Madison168975
LaPorte147441
Floyd138963
Warrick134440
Howard131863
Kosciusko124817
Bartholomew117957
Marshall101224
Dubois99119
Boone98646
Grant93334
Hancock93243
Noble92532
Henry80926
Jackson7689
Wayne76814
Morgan72938
Daviess67728
Shelby67729
Dearborn66528
LaGrange63911
Clinton60914
Harrison58724
Putnam58112
Gibson5305
Knox5259
Lawrence51529
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48711
White48614
Decatur45839
Miami4383
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper3992
Steuben3877
Scott38111
Posey3400
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31125
Ripley3038
Clay3025
Orange28824
Whitley2796
Carroll27713
Adams2743
Wabash2718
Washington2691
Starke2677
Wells2654
Spencer2593
Jefferson2483
Huntington2453
Fulton2412
Tipton22822
Perry22113
Randolph2207
Jay1880
Newton17311
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1621
Rush1574
Vermillion1300
Fountain1282
Blackford1203
Pulaski1131
Crawford1080
Brown1043
Parke1032
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226