White House submits $1.25 billion emergency request as part of $2.5 billion coronavirus effort

By Phil Mattingly, CNN 2020-02-25 11:26

(CNN)The White House has requested $1.25billion in emergency funding to address the novelcoronavirus, part of an effort to direct as much as $2.5 billion intotal funds to bolster its response to the growing global crisis, according toa letter obtained by CNN.

"To this point, no agency has beeninhibited in response efforts due to resources or authorities," RussellVought, the acting director at the Office of Management and Budget, wrote inthe letter to lawmakers requesting the funds. "However, much is stillunknown about the virus and the disease it causes."

In total, Vought wrote, the administrationexpects "to allocate at least $2.5 billion in total resources" forthe response effort. Much of that support would come from shifting fundsalready appropriated to other government agencies toward the effort.

Lawmakers said they were preparing for theadministration's request to reach Capitol Hill, even as the final numbers werestill in flux in advance of the letter sent Monday evening.

Senate Appropriations Chairman RichardShelby, an Alabama Republican, told reporters Monday that his staff had been indiscussions with the White House about the looming request.

The news comes on the eve of a briefingTuesday morning on the coronavirus for all senators in a classified setting,two sources with knowledge of the plans tell CNN.

Along with the $1.25 billion emergencyfunding request, the White House requested that an additional $535 million inemergency funding previously appropriated for the prevention and treatment ofEbola be redirected toward the effort to counter coronavirus.

"Tremendous progress has been made onEbola and the current national response priority should be" coronavirus,the letter states, noting that "these two proposals would make $1.8billion in new resources available for the current response."

This story is breaking and will beupdated.

CNN's Caroline Kelly and Manu Raju contributed to thisreport.