Congressional Leaders Agree on $8.3 Billion Bill to Combat Coronavirus

The bill to fight the coronavirus could be passed as soon as Wednesday, and President Trump is expected to sign it.
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Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate forged an agreement Wednesday for $8.3 billion in emergency funding to fight the coronavirus.

“This should not be about politics; this is about doing our job to protect the American people from a potential pandemic," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R, Ala.) said in a statement.

"We worked together to craft an aggressive and comprehensive response that provides the resources the experts say they need to combat this crisis,” Shelby added.

The $8.3 billion bill is much larger than what the Trump administration originally proposed last month. It includes a $7.8 billion allotment to agencies fighting the virus, according to The New York Times.

The remaining $500 million goes to Medicare providers to offer telehealth services. That way older patients, who are at greater risk from the virus, can get help without leaving home.

The House and Senate are expected to approve the bill as soon as Wednesday, and President Trump is expected to sign it.

Nine people in the U.S. and more than 3,100 worldwide have died from the virus. Los Angeles County officials declared a state of emergency Wednesday, as the area reported six new coronavirus cases over the past 48 hours.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has announced a $50 billion aid package to help fight the coronavirus.

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC that the money was available immediately for low-income and emerging-market countries.

Most of the money will be interest-free and participating countries do not need to have a preexisting program with the IMF to participate.