The Senate will vote Thursday on a sweeping spending package to direct billions of dollars toward the US government's response to the coronavirus outbreak as lawmakers scramble to fight the spread of the disease.
Senators are expected to pass the measure, sending it next to the White House for the President's signature. It passed the House Wednesday with broad, bipartisan support.
The agreement provides $7.8 billion in appropriations to address the outbreak of coronavirus as well as an authorization for $500 million in mandatory spending to fund a telehealth program in an effort to expand access to health services for seniors for a total of $8.3 billion in all.
Lawmakers have been meeting for days to hammer out a package to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The total funding package that will be allocated by the deal is an amount far higher than the $2.5 billion White House request. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed $8.5 billion to deal with the outbreak.
Last week, however, the President opened the door to a higher spending level to combat coronavirus than what the White House initially requested, saying, 'We'll spend whatever is appropriate.'
The White House is expected to back the deal with President Donald Trump tweeting on Wednesday after the House approved the package, 'Congress has agreed to provide $8 Billion to fight Coronavirus!' and 'This is great news for our Health, our Economy, and our Nation!'
However, some Republican senators may balk at the price tag of the deal.
GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said he anticipates some budget-conscious Republicans will vote against the package because of its large price tag, but he didn't indicate who might oppose it.
'Not everyone will vote for the bill. But they would not have voted for it at $2.2 billion either,' Blunt said, referring to the much smaller original supplemental request from the White House.