Vern Buchanan says Congress must pass coronavirus funding immediately
Vern Buchanan wants Congress to act immediately on coronavirus funding.

Vern Buchanan
He wants a bill on the President's desk this week.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchnanan called Monday for immediate funding to fight the coronavirus.

The renewed call to action came hours after confirmation a patient from Manatee County and another from Hillsborough County tested “presumptively positive” for COVID-19.

Buchanan represents all of Manatee and parts of Hillsborough.

“We need to boost funding to make sure Florida and the rest of the country have the resources they need to properly test for and contain COVID-19,” Buchanan said. “The time to act is now.”

The U.S. just recorded its first two coronavirus deaths, neither in Florida.

Congress has discussed additional funding for addressing coronavirus but has set no timetable for passage.

With this weekend’s developments, Buchanan said it’s time for Congress to act with urgency. He wants legislation on President Donald Trump’s desk this week.

“Speed is critical to containing the threat,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan previously called for the president to declare a public health emergency, which Trump did days later.

Buchanan also offered early support for restricting flights from China into the U.S.

The Hillsborough patient has a recent history of traveling to Italy, another nation with a high number of reported cases of coronavirus. The Manatee patient, however, had not been traveling to at risk countries.

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, also within Buchanan’s district, issued a letter to staff that it has a patient who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says presumptively tested positive for the disease.

Democrats notably criticized Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading up response to the coronavirus, for attending a fundraiser at Buchanan’s home on Friday. That included a swipe from Buchanan’s Democratic opponent Margaret Good.

But Buchanan said it’s important the federal government respond to the threat of coronavirus absent partisan bickering.

“Developing a reliable rapid test is critical to dealing with a contagious virus,” Buchanan said, adding Congress should “stop the partisan games and get to work.”

“We need to accelerate development of a vaccine, implement proper quarantine procedures and ensure the safety of health workers,” Buchanan said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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