The White House is requesting $1.25 billion in emergency funding from Congress as part of a total commitment of $2.5 billion to fight the novel coronavirus, according to a congressional official.
If approved, the funds will be earmarked for accelerated vaccine development, the procurement of equipment and supplies and to support preparedness and response activities, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the request "long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency." She also accused President Donald Trump of leaving "critical positions in charge of managing pandemics at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security vacant."
"The president’s most recent budget called for slashing funding for the Centers for Disease Control, which is on the frontlines of this emergency. And now, he is compounding our vulnerabilities by seeking to ransack funds still needed to keep Ebola in check," Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday morning. "Our state and local governments need serious funding to be ready to respond effectively to any outbreak in the U.S. The president should not be raiding money that Congress has appropriated for other life-or-death public health priorities."
She added that lawmakers in the House of Representatives "will swiftly advance a strong, strategic funding package that fully addresses the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also called the Trump administration's request "too little too late."
"That President Trump is trying to steal funds dedicated to fight ebola -- which is still considered an epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- is indicative of his towering incompetence and further proof that he and his administration aren’t taking the coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be," Schumer said in a statement. "We’ve seen no sign that President Trump has any plan or urgency to deal with the spread of the coronavirus -- we need real leadership and we need it fast."