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Trump signs $8.3B bill to combat coronavirus outbreak

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 12 people in the U.S. and infected more than 200.

The legislation provides federal public health agencies with money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments and helps state and local governments prepare and respond to the threat. The rapid spread of the virus has rocked financial markets, interrupted travel and threatens to affect everyday life in the United States.

Trump had planned to sign the bill during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. But he told reporters Friday that concerns were raised about “one person who was potentially infected” who worked at the CDC. Trump said the person has since tested negative for the new virus and that he still hopes to visit the agency at some point.

The Senate passed the $8.3 billion measure Thursday in a 96-1 vote (Sen. Rand Paul voted no) to help tackle the outbreak in hopes of reassuring a fearful public and accelerating the government’s response to the virus. Its rapid spread is threatening to upend everyday life in the U.S. and across the globe.

The plan more than triples the $2.5 billion amount outlined by the White House 10 days ago. The Trump proposal was immediately discarded by members of Congress from both parties. Instead, the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations committees negotiated the increased figure and other provisions of the legislation in a burst of bipartisan cooperation that’s common on the panel but increasingly rare elsewhere in Washington.

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