Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Calls for Swift Congressional Action As Coronavirus Spreads

Mar 2, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – As reports surface of the first presumptive Florida cases of coronavirus, Congressman Vern Buchanan today called for swift congressional passage this week of legislation aimed at confronting the deadly virus. 

“We need to boost funding to make sure Florida and the rest of the country have the resources they need to properly test for and contain COVID-19,” Buchanan said. “The time to act is now.”

The first two “presumptive” cases involved residents of Manatee and Hillsborough county — both counties in Buchanan’s congressional district. The United States recorded its first two deaths attributed to the coronavirus over the weekend.

Congressional leaders have discussed a supplemental appropriation to address the spread of the disease, but no timetable for passage has been set. Buchanan said the bill should be enacted this week and sent to the president’s desk to get the funding in the pipeline.

“Speed is critical to containing the threat,” said Buchanan, who was one of the first in Congress to call for the president to declare a public health emergency days before Trump did so.

Buchanan also was one of the first to call for restricting flights into the country from China, the origin of the disease.

“Developing a reliable rapid test is critical to dealing with a contagious virus,” Buchanan said, adding Congress should “stop the partisan games and get to work.

“We need to accelerate development of a vaccine, implement proper quarantine procedures and ensure the safety of health workers,” the congressman said.