Florida’s congressional delegation praises bipartisan $8.3B coronavirus funding package
A variety of errors added up to a slow response time for the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

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The bipartisan effort delivered a package nearly $1B more than originally contemplated.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved Wednesday a massive $8.3 billion emergency spending package to respond to the ongoing threat as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread.

The package comes after several days of partisan dissent over vaccine affordability and is nearly $1 billion more than the original $7.5 billion pondered.

The package includes more than $3 billion for research and development into vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics as well as $2.2 billion for public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response. Of that, $950 million would go to support state and local health agencies.

Nearly $1 billion is earmarked for pharmaceutical and medical supply procurement, health care preparedness, medical surge capacity and for community health centers.

Funds are also earmarked for overseas health systems, humanitarian response, and new medical countermeasures, devices, therapies and vaccines.

The Senate is expected to take the package up as early as Thursday with the spending bill expected to hit President Donald Trump‘s desk by the end of the week.

Florida’s Congressional delegation took notice. Here is a compilation of responses from Florida’s members of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn:

“I’ve been working closely with the Trump Administration to properly assess this outbreak, and I’m pleased that the House has given the Administration the funds necessary to appropriately respond. As a physician who is well-versed in outbreaks and pandemics, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be well-prepared. This funding will be used to make diagnostic tests more broadly available, develop medicine to treat those who are affected, assist the Food & Drug Administration in preventing shortages, and expedite vaccine and therapeutic developments. This is a huge step in the right direction, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues and this Administration to keep Americans safe.”

U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz:

“As always, our job as elected officials is to provide for our constituents and their safety, so I’m glad Congress is acting on this issue … With the coronavirus spreading around our state and country, it’s critical these departments and our states have every resource available to prevent further infections and protect America against this virus.”

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy:

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist:

“With the number of reported cases of coronavirus climbing every day, passage of this emergency funding legislation is imperative to give federal, state, and local governments and agencies the resources they need to fight this virus and keep the American people safe. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have worked alongside my colleagues to secure this critical funding. Our bipartisan, whole-of-government approach will support governments at all levels by providing additional testing sites, hotline resources, and preventative supplies to defend families from the coronavirus.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor:

“Today I supported a strong, strategic funding package for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and for expedited vaccine development on the floor of the House.  As the federal government and our health officials in Florida work tirelessly to keep Americans safe, this funding package is an important first step in providing robust resources for an effective, whole-of-government response to Coronavirus at home and abroad including more than $3 billion appropriated for research and vaccine development.

“Our package includes $950 million for state and local health agencies to protect the public health, including surveillance, laboratory testing, infection control, contact tracing and mitigation. Our public health professionals in Florida are working around the clock and aid is on to way to ensure that ours and others across the country have the tools they need for prevention, care and communication. This provision will assist the three Florida Department of Health labs — Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville — that are capable of testing for novel coronavirus, which is critical to addressing future cases, and keeping us all safe.

“I continue to work with our nursing homes in Florida, and I’m pleased that this bill provides additional protections for our older neighbors by allowing Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors in our community, at an estimated cost of $500 million. It will take all of us working together to protect our neighbors, especially our vulnerable populations including seniors, and stem the spread of the coronavirus.

“I am calling on my colleagues in the Senate to pass this package with dispatch.”

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart:

“As an appropriator, I’m proud we were able to pass an $8.3 billion emergency appropriations supplemental package to help combat coronavirus. This funding facilitates expedited vaccine development, assists local and state health departments, and provides the necessary resources to purchase essential equipment and supplies. We must ensure that our nation is prepared to face this pandemic and that we continue doing all we can to prevent it from further spreading. I will continue to monitor this situation closely and working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that our constituents are prepared and receive the care they need.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell:

“Passing this funding to comprehensively address the coronavirus is an important step in the right direction, but this is only the beginning of the process. The administration must be transparent with how the funding is allocated, and ensure that testing is widely available and accessible. I am pleased that this package includes $100 million for critical supplies for our public health response, including resources for our community health centers. The package also includes $300 million to ensure vaccines are affordable for all Americans. The bill sets aside $950 million for state and local health agencies, ensuring Florida will have the funding needed to tackle this public health crisis. This funding is critical for our state, and today, I sent a letter to Governor DeSantis urging him to prioritize public outreach and consider creating a statewide hotline dedicated to coronavirus-related questions so our health facilities aren’t overwhelmed.”

Staff Reports


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