COVID-19

CDC set to testify on Capitol Hill on its budget, as it responds to COVID-19

Kimberly Adams Mar 10, 2020
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President Donald Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force at a press briefing on Feb. 29, 2020. Alex Wong/Getty Images
COVID-19

CDC set to testify on Capitol Hill on its budget, as it responds to COVID-19

Kimberly Adams Mar 10, 2020
President Donald Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force at a press briefing on Feb. 29, 2020. Alex Wong/Getty Images
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Leaders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are set to testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning. The hearing itself is officially about the president’s 2021 budget request for the agency. But in the month or so since President Donald Trump sent that budget to Congress, the COVID-19 outbreak has completely changed the public health landscape.

The budget proposal for the CDC cut funding to the agency by about 16%. Now with an $8 billion funding package that was just signed into law, Jay Shambaugh at the Brookings Institution says “you’re seeing continued activity to try to make sure anything that needs to be funded from a public health standpoint is funded.”

Right now, thanks to low interest rates, the government can borrow money cheaply, according to Desmond Lachman at the American Enterprise Institute. 

“It takes time to spend that kind of money efficiently,” Lachman said. “So I wouldn’t expect an increase in the very near future.”

Shambaugh said the money is good in the short term, but the conversation is different now.

“But now there’s a much broader conversation in Congress about an appropriate kind of fiscal response that stretches beyond the immediate funding the public health agencies as well,” he said.

Such “responses” include tax cuts or paid sick leave that may address other consequences of the outbreak.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Which businesses are allowed to reopen right now? And which businesses are actually doing so?

As a patchwork of states start to reopen, businesses that fall into a gray area are wondering when they can reopen. In many places, salons are still shuttered. Bars are mostly closed, too, although restaurants may be allowed to ramp up, depending on the state. “It’s kind of all over the place,” said Elizabeth Milito of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Will you be able to go on vacation this summer?

There’s no chance that this summer will be a normal season for vacations either in the U.S. or internationally. But that doesn’t mean a trip will be impossible. People will just have to be smart about it. That could mean vacations closer to home, especially with gas prices so low. Air travel will be possible this summer, even if it is a very different experience than usual.

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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