Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Urges Senate to Pass COVID-19 Funding

Mar 4, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON –  With the strong support of Congressman Vern Buchanan, the U.S. House today approved emergency funding to confront the deadly coronavirus. The Senate must now pass the $8.3 billion bill and send it to the President’s desk for his immediate signature.

The first two confirmed 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.

“After meeting this week with doctors and health officials in my district, it is clear we need to make sure that our hospitals and medical facilities have the resources they need to treat and contain the disease,” Buchanan said. “We need to dramatically ramp-up the supply of test kits, increase the number of locations where people exhibiting symptoms can easily get tested, and accelerate the process of getting results back – hopefully in less than 24 hours.”

Buchanan noted that the bill approved today will help fund better testing kits, development of a vaccine and research into treatment and therapeutics. It will also provide more than $2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control including nearly $1 billion to aid state and local responses. The bill also provides more than $1 billion in funding for the State Department to help prevent the global spread of the virus and to assist Americans impacted abroad.

“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.

“I also think it’s important for the hospitals and government officials to keep people informed of ongoing developments, especially when friends or loved ones of patients are involved. Transparency is always the best policy,” Buchanan continued.