The House overwhelmingly passed an $8.3 billion supplemental funding bill Wednesday to respond to the coronavirus, marking the first major step by Congress to tackle the growing number of cases and deaths in the U.S.
The 415-2 vote came just hours after lawmakers in both chambers struck the bipartisan deal for emergency funding. The Senate is expected to take up the measure as early as this week.
The bill provides $7.76 billion to agencies combating the coronavirus three times the $2.5 billion initially requested by the White House. The legislation also authorizes another $500 million in waivers for Medicare telehealth restrictions, bringing the total to about $8.3 billion.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle praised the measure and called for the Senate to act quickly and send the bill to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems unlikely to subpoena Bolton Ratcliffe nomination puts Susan Collins in tough spotMeet the adviser shaping foreign policy for SandersMORE’s desk.
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerTrump tells Republicans he won’t extend surveillance law without FISA reformsVaccine costs emerge as roadblock to coronavirus funding dealSenators back short-term surveillance extension amid standoffMORE (D-Md.) said in a statement ahead of the vote that the bipartisan bill is a recognition of the challenge we now face as a nation in containing the spread of coronavirus and preventing further loss of life.”
“I hope the Senate will take up this emergency funding bill swiftly and send it to the Presidents desk for approval before the end of the week, he added.
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenators urge British Parliament to reject Huawei from 5G networksOvernight Energy: Lawmakers clamor to add provisions to fast-moving energy bill | EPA board questions replacement of Obama-era emissions rule | Dem senator asks watchdog to investigate two EPA rules Lawmakers clamor to add provisions to fast-moving energy billMORE (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday that if the House is able to vote that day he will work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRatcliffe nomination puts Susan Collins in tough spotSessions to face Tuberville in Alabama GOP Senate runoffNC Democrat Cal Cunningham set to face Tillis in NovemberMORE (R-Ky.) to try to pass the coronavirus bill in the Senate this week.
The bill was negotiated by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
Vice President Pence, the Trump administration’s point man on the coronavirus, briefed both House Republicans and Democrats in separate meetings before the vote and advocated for the bills passage.
One of the points that he made was that our state public health labs have the ability now to test folks. Before the end of the week, we’ll have more than 1 million tests available, Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonUpton cites Sanders’s popularity in saying he will seek reelectionOvernight Health Care Presented by Partnership for America’s Health Care Future Democrats seek to preempt Trump message on health care | E-cigarette executives set for grilling | Dems urge emergency funding for coronavirusDemocrats slam GOP on drug prices in bilingual digital adsMORE (R-Mich.) said after the briefing. “They need the money, which is why I’m voting yes. 
The measure includes $2.2 billion to help federal, state and local public health agencies prepare for and respond to the coronavirus, including funds for lab testing, infection control and tracing individuals who might have had contact with infected people. The bill also reimburses state and local governments for costs they have already incurred.
The funding will provide resources for the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Fund, as well as $300 million for global health efforts by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Roughly $3 billion will go toward supporting research and development of vaccines, treatments and tests. The measure requires that any vaccines, drugs or tests developed by private companies using taxpayer dollars be made available for purchase by the federal government at a fair and reasonable price, a win for Democrats who had been asking for those assurances.
About $1 billion will pay for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, including masks, protective equipment for workers.
More than a dozen states have confirmed cases of coronavirus. The U.S. has a total of 148 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
A handful of GOP lawmakers said they were opposed to the funding measure, citing concerns with the level of spending. Some argued that Congress should have started with the administrations requested amount and passed additional funding if needed.
How do you move from $2.5 billion to $8.5 billion? How do you move from an exigent circumstance spend to a five-year spend, which is what we’re talking about? House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) told The Hill.
“I mean, [the administration is] doing all kinds of things that are going to have significant substantive advantages to slow down and protect people. And it looks like this is just  a money play to some of my colleagues across the aisle there’s no offsets there’s no credibility.”
Jordain Carney contributed.