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White House Seeks $45.8 Billion for Coronavirus Fight

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U.S. Army
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Trump administration is asking Congress to approve a $45.8 billion coronavirus emergency funding bill that would include $16.5 billion for veterans’ health care programs.

This would be in addition to an $8.3 billion measure already passed by Congress and signed into law.

“The unprecedented mobilization the Administration has achieved has forced agencies to incur unanticipated costs. These costs must be met with a legislative response to ensure full operational capacity,” says Russell Vought, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, in a letter to Congress.

The new request includes $8.3 billion, the same amount as the previous appropriation, for a Defense Department emergency response fund. Part of this money would cover costs related to personnel actions such as freezing troops in place as a precaution against spreading the virus. It also would pay for medical care and research and address added logistics and supply chain costs.

The Veterans Health Administration would receive $13.1 billion for health care treatment costs, which the request says covers testing kits, temporary intensive care unit bed conversion and expansion, and personal protective equipment. It also asks for $2 billion for community medical care for an anticipated increase in elderly veterans requiring treatment. This would be enough for about three months of care.