Politics

White House planning to ask Congress for emergency funds to fight coronavirus spread

Key Points
  • The White House is planning to ask Congress to approve an emergency spending package to help the Trump administration battle the spread of the coronavirus, a source familiar with the situation told CNBC.
  • The proposed spending deal could be sent to Congress as soon as this week, the source said.
  • A White House official told CNBC on Monday that President Donald Trump is receiving "regular updates" on the virus.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and members of the Trump Administration's Coronavirus Task Force hold a press briefing at the White House on January 31, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Sarah Silbiger | Getty Images

The White House is planning to ask Congress to approve an emergency spending package to help the Trump administration battle the spread of the coronavirus, a source familiar with the situation told CNBC on Monday.

The proposed spending deal could be sent to Congress as soon as this week, the source said.

The Washington Post first reported the White House's preparations Monday morning. The Post reported that the package could include a request for about $1 billion in funding — but that amount should not be considered the last word as plans are still being finalized, CNBC's source said.

The coronavirus has killed at least 2,600 people around the world and infected tens of thousands so far. The World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency last month.

The Trump administration in late January imposed travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines for at-risk citizens returning to the U.S.

A White House official told CNBC on Monday that President Donald Trump is receiving "regular updates" on the virus.

"This is obviously a priority and the president is paying close attention. There have already been cases in the U.S. and person-to-person transmission in the U.S. One of the things the U.S. and President Trump have been able to do is to have policies and systems in place to make sure we're on top of it," the official said.

"It was briefly in the wild in the U.S. and we were able to pull that back," according to the official.

Trump himself tweeted later Monday that "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA."

He added that the stock market — which had just closed its worst trading session in two years — is "starting to look very good to me!"

Trump TWEET

A recent spike in the number of people infected with the deadly coronavirus has shaken governments and markets alike. Stocks tanked Monday amid the surge in cases outside of China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus.

The White House official told CNBC that the market is reacting to the news of the day, and said that the economy remains strong.

"The idea that the Dow dropping 800 points currently is somehow an indictment of the president and his policies, I think that is ridiculous," the official said.

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