President Trump on Friday signed into law an $8.3 billion emergency funding package to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’ve signed the $8.3 billion. I asked for two and a half and I got 8.3 and I’ll take it,” Trump said at the Diplomatic Room in the White House.
The president had originally planned to sign the bill at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta, but the White House called it off Friday morning because it said Trump did not want to interfere with the agency’s efforts.
On Friday, Trump said he might still visit the CDC, saying his visit had been called off because of a suspected case of the illness at the agency, but that it turned out to be negative.
“So I may be going. We’re going to see if they can turn it around,” the president said.
The funding bill provides $7.76 billion to federal, state and local agencies to combat COVID-19 and authorizes an additional $500 million in waivers for Medicare tele-health restrictions, according to The Hill.
The amount substantially exceeds the $2.5 billion in emergency funding the White House earlier proposed.
The White House announced the CDC visit in the wake of strong criticism over the agency’s slow diagnostic testing rollout and for defects in its test kits.
On Tuesday, Trump visited the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for a roundtable briefing about the efforts against the coronavirus.
The president plans to visit tornado-stricken areas of Nashville on Friday before heading to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is expected to speak at a fundraiser.