Trump administration seeks US$45.8 bil in extra govt funding

US president speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force at the White House. (AP pic)

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration has requested an additional US$45.8 billion from Congress to shore up US agencies amid the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, a White House spokesman said on Wednesday.

The supplemental funding request, sent to US lawmakers on Tuesday night, would give billions more to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Defense Department.

The request is separate from the administration’s proposed US$1 trillion stimulus package to address the outbreak’s economic fallout.

The request includes a proposal for US$13.1 billion for the VA to fund treatment of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, and other related costs.

The administration is requesting another US$1.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over its prior proposal.

The proposal also includes US$500 million for US passenger railroad Amtrak, which has warned it will lose at least hundreds of millions of dollars this year and is seeking US$1 billion in emergency assistance for it and state rail agencies.

Amtrak has halted 60% of its daily trains in the Northeast Corridor linking Boston and Washington.

The White House is also seeking US$800 million to fund up to 13 migrant quarantine facilities along the US-Mexican border.