The White House sent a letter to congressional leaders on Monday night, asking for $1.8 billion to spend on its response to the global coronavirus outbreak.
The White House is requesting $1.25 billion in new funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and access to $535 million that had been set aside to fight Ebola, The Washington Post reports. In the letter, White House Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russell Vought wrote: "To this point, no agency has been inhibited in response efforts due to resources or authorities. However, much is still unknown about this virus and the disease it causes. The administration believes additional federal resources are necessary to take steps to prepare for a potential worsening of the situation in the United States."
In response, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said the request was "woefully insufficient." The White House had previously said it did not think it needed any additional funding to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus. There are now more than 50 cases in the United States, and organizations representing state and local public health officials have asked for money to buy protective equipment, expand outreach to the public, and fund mobile home-testing teams, the Post reports.
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