Politics

Here’s What The $8.3 Billion Bill For Coronavirus Actually Does

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Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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President Donald Trump signed an $8.3 billion funding bill Friday to help fight coronavirus as the disease continues to spread in the U.S, here is where the money is going.

The bill gives more than $3 billion for the research and development of vaccines. There is also $800 million for research for treatments. It also includes $2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $61 million to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Yahoo Finance.

In addition, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will get more than $1 billion. Another $1 billion or more will go to states who need help managing the crisis. The legislation also grants access to around $500 million to allow for Medicare providers to do telehealth appointments. Some of the money will also go to other agencies who need the money.

The bill passed the Senate on a 96-1 vote, with Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul being the only senator to vote against the funding. The coronavirus funding vote passed the House 415-2 the day before with both Republican Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and Republican Colorado Rep. Ken Buck voting against the measure. They felt the package included too much money and that the White House request of 2.5 billion was a more appropriate request to help fight the disease.

Paul would not speak to the Daily Caller about the matter, and referred to his floor speech. However, both Biggs and Buck gave answers as to why they opposed the funding numbers.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a briefing on the administration’s coronavirus response in the press briefing room of the White House on March 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The coronavirus is a serious public health issue. The Administration requested an initial $2.5 billion after thoughtful consideration as to how it would be spent. Almost overnight, without a hearing or markup, Democrats chose their own arbitrary number,” Buck told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Congress Reaches $7.8 Billion Deal To Fight Coronavirus)

“The $8.3 billion package is chock-full of unnecessary Christmas tree ornaments, like unrelated Medicare funding and nearly $1.3 billion going to foreign countries. It’s unfortunate that House Democrats would exploit this very serious public health crisis. Congress needs to take a hard look at our irresponsible spending problem rather than leave it to our children and grandchildren to pay the price,” Buck continued.

Biggs, who also voted against the legislation, told the Daily Caller that the original number of $2.5 billion proposed by the White House was a reasonable amount, but could not come to terms with the $8.3 billion.

“As the Democrats sought to make political hay from this serious situation, they fielded various proposals that took their desired price tag from the administration’s asking price of $2.5 billion to the Democrats’ wish list of over $14 billion with a veritable Christmas wish list of policy changes,” Biggs said to the Daily Caller.

“To their credit, Republicans negotiated that spending number down. But, in the end the spending amount of $8.3 billion was simply backed into,” Biggs said.” In the supplemental funding package passed by the House, there is $1.25 billion given to spend overseas and another $500 million for other programs.”

Trump held a press conference at the end of February discussing how the U.S. will deal with the disease and put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the task force. (RELATED: President Trump Appoints Vice President Pence To Head Coronavirus Task Force)

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic Wednesday.