Congress Confronts Coronavirus, Wrestles With Domestic Surveillance

Few things can bring hyperpartisan Capitol Hill together, but a potential pandemic is definitely one of them. Lawmakers yesterday responded with surprising speed – at least for them – and reached consensus on an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus funding package. The House approved the bill with an overwhelming 415-2 vote, with the Senate easily passing the measure by a tally of 96-1. The package includes money for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and loans for affected small businesses. The funding total is more than triple the amount initially requested by President Trump, who will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his deck.

The eventual cost of combating the virus likely will be higher, as the last thing lawmakers want is for constituents to accuse them of not doing everything possible to keep the public safe.

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