Congress approved $8.3 billion in emergency funding to respond to the novel coronavirus at the local, state, federal and international levels.
The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign the bill.
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Act includes more than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines and diagnostics; $2.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control; $1 billion for state and local response efforts; and nearly $1 billion for procurement of medicine and medical supplies.
“It’s critically important to support our state and local health care apparatus around the country,” Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet said after the Senate vote Thursday. “I’m glad we got it out and we need all hands on deck to make sure that we’re doing what we need to do.”
Colorado health officials announced the state had its first positive case of the new coronavirus on Thursday, March 5.
Based on advice from medical experts and scientists, Democratic Rep. Jason Crow said Congress needed to respond aggressively with the appropriate amount of funding.
“What we do know is that if we allowed this to get out of control, and to rapidly spread, the economic consequences are far wider-reaching and deep than certainly spending the money upfront to make sure we get our arms around it,” Crow said.