Medics transport a person on a stretcher into an ambulance at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, a long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases, in Kirkland, Washington, March 3, 2020.David Ryder | Reuters
The House passed a sweeping bill Wednesday allocating more than $8 billion in emergency funds to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The vote was 415-2. Republican Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado and Andy Biggs of Arizona were the only members to vote against the legislation.
The emergency funding package, which provides more than $3 billion in vaccine research and $2.2 billion in prevention and preparedness efforts, was unveiled hours earlier following days of negotiations on Capitol Hill.
The coronavirus bill will head to the Senate, where leaders there hope they can quickly bring it to a vote. If the bill passes that chamber, it will move to the Oval Office desk of President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
The $8.3 billion congressional spending proposal is more than three times the $2.5 billion the White House proposed last week devoting to the coronavirus effort.
Senate Appropriations Committee Leader Richard Shelby, R-Ala., revealed the plan as the death toll from the outbreak in the U.S. rose to 11 people. California on Wednesday reported the first death in that state from the virus. The other 10 deaths occurred in Washington state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that at least 138 cases of coronavirus had been identified in the U.S.
The fast-spreading disease, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan in China's Hubei province, has killed more than 3,100 people and infected tens of thousands more around the world, prompting fears that a pandemic is imminent.
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