- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

House Democrats plan to put a bipartisan emergency funding deal to address the coronavirus to a vote this week.

Key appropriators are still working out the details of the package — reportedly costing somewhere between $7 billion and $8 billion — but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he expects the bill on the floor Wednesday or Thursday.

“I told members it was doubtful we would leave unless we pass the coronavirus supplemental,” the Maryland Democrat said.

Leadership from both parties are expecting a strong show of bipartisan support for the finalized bill when it comes to a vote later this week. Members are rushing to get the funds to state and localities as the virus continues to spread.

The CDC is tracking over 100 infections in the U.S., though 48 of them are in patients who were repatriated from China and Japan.

Elsewhere, two members of an Atlanta household recently tested positive in Georgia and New York reported a second infection, in Westchester County. As of Tuesday, six people in have died of the virus in Washington State.

While both sides call for a united front to address the coronavirus, leadership continues to make cross-party jabs.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer touted the bipartisan work to reach a deal on funding Tuesday morning, while criticizing the administration’s response.

“The Trump administation’s efforts leave much to be desired. While their response is slow and loose with the facts and President Trump blames everyone but himself, Congress — the Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate — are acting like the adults in the room,” he said.

Republicans were concerned about Democrats attempting to tack on other issues, like FISA reform, onto the much needed spending bill.

“We should get this done Wednesday or Thursday. It shouldn’t be a problem,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said. “I know Democrats were trying to legislate in a way that they shouldn’t. They were trying to add things that shouldn’t be a part of it.”

The deadline to reauthorize three key provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is on March 15 — leaving Congress less than 10 legislative days to reach a deal.

Despite the crunch time, Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters FISA reform won’t be attached to any bills getting a vote this week, including the coronavirus spending bill.

— Tom Howell contributed to this report.

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