The Trump administration requested an additional $2.5 billion from Congress on Monday to fight coronavirus, Politico reports. The supplemental budget package sent to lawmakers reportedly proposes pulling untouched money, like unused funds allocated to fight Ebola, and requests new allocations as well. According to the Office of Management and Budget, more than $1 billion would go toward vaccine development while other funds would go toward stockpiling masks and other protective equipment. The package requests that the money be allocated for use in both 2020 and 2021. OMB spokesperson Rachel Semmel said the administration was taking coronavirus’ spread “very seriously.” “We are grateful for the continued work of our great doctors, responders on the ground, law enforcement, state and local partners and all those working to keep every American safe from the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Semmel wrote.
The request reportedly comes after an internal debate about how much money should be requested, with officials suggesting anywhere between $1 billion and $5 billion. House Appropriations Committee Chair Nina Lowey (D-NY) called the funding “woefully insufficient” in a Monday night statement, and claimed the administration “took weeks” to respond to the “deadly coronavirus outbreak.”