Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic senators are prepping a letter to President Trump in which they’ll ask him to issue a national emergency declaration over COVID-19, according to a new report.
Schumer (D-NY) and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) are in the process of preparing the letter, Politico reports, although it is unclear when they plan to send it.
The national emergency declaration would grant FEMA access to $40 billion in the Disaster Relief Fund, providing them funds to assist state and local governments as they fight the outbreak.
President Trump signed an $8.3 billion spending bill to combat the virus on Friday.
The package includes more than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, test kits and medical treatments; $2.2 billion to help public-health activities on prevention, preparedness and response; and $1.25 billion to aid international efforts aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.
It also authorizes an additional $500 million in waivers for Medicare “telehealth” restrictions to allow sick people to get treatment without visiting physicians.
The amount in the bill is a substantial increase from the $2.5 billion in emergency funding the White House had originally proposed.
Over 1,000 people in the US have been diagnosed with the deadly virus as of Tuesday night.
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