Pa. Sen.Toomey says he’s a yes vote on coronavirus emergency funding package

    Sen. Pat Toomey. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., says he’ll vote in favor of a more than $8 billion emergency funding package that will expand the government’s capacity to fight the coronavirus, which has now claimed 11 American lives.

    An analysis of the $8.3 billion emergency funding package (Source: U.S. House Appropriations Committee Democratic staff)

    “Expanding our capacity to test for the coronavirus on a large scale is my priority right now. I have been in contact with the FDA, CMS, and the CDC in order to ensure that Pennsylvania’s hospitals are able to administer all the coronavirus tests that Pennsylvanians need,” Toomey said in a statement his office released Wednesday afternoon.

    “Congress is very likely to approve supplemental funding this week to provide states, local governments, and health care professionals the resources needed to respond to the virus. I intend to support this measure,” Toomey said.

    An analysis of the funding bill, prepared by U.S. House Democrats, and obtained by The Capital-Star shows the funding package providing more than $3 billion for vaccine development; $950 million in support to state and local health agencies and $2.2 billion in public health funding, including the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.

    The negotiated, bipartisan bill cleared the House on Wednesday afternoon. Negotiators were aiming to land it on President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the week, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

    “This supplemental spending bill is an important step to ensuring federal, state, and local authorities—as well as healthcare providers—have the resources they need to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak,” U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District, said in a statement. “Our office remains in contact with federal, state, and local governments and those responsible for keeping us safe and healthy. I am confident that everything is being done with the full weight of authority to respond to the Coronavirus.”

    John L. Micek
    John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.