HomeWashington Letter2020 ▶ House Passes Additional COVID-19 Relief Funding – Trump Threatens Veto
House Passes Additional COVID-19 Relief Funding – Trump Threatens Veto

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed additional COVID-19 relief legislation providing funding for local, state and federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

Department of Health and Human Services

  • $4.75 billion for the National Institutes of Health to assist with relevant research and to support biomedical research laboratories across the country.
  • $4.58 billion for the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, including-
  • $3.5 billion for the Biomedical Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for therapeutic and vaccine development.
  • $500 million for BARDA to support U.S. “next generation” manufacturing facilities.
  • $500 million for BARDA to advance antibacterial research and development.
  • $175 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse for health care related expenses or lost revenue, and to support testing and contact tracing, including-
  • $100 billion for reimbursement grants to hospitals and health care providers.
  • $75 billion for testing, contact tracing, and related response activities.


  • Requires HHS to issue a new and detailed (updated) plan for testing.
  • Requires every laboratory conducting COVID-19 tests to report daily results to HHS.
  • Authorizes $6 billion to modernize public health departments.
  • Authorizes $1 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to modernize its public health infrastructure.
  • Requires CDC to establish a national system for testing and contact tracing, this includes issuing grants to State, local, and Tribal governments.
  • Deploys the Defense Production Act to increase production and supply of critical items, including diagnostic tests.

State, Local and Tribal Assistance

  • $500 billion to assist State governments with fiscal impacts.
  • $375 billion to assist local governments with fiscal impacts.
  • $20 billion to assist Tribal governments with fiscal impacts.
  • $20 billion to assist territorial governments with fiscal impacts.
  • $755 million to assist the District of Columbia with response efforts and fiscal impacts.
  • $2.1 billion for the Indian Health Service to support health care activities, including-
  • $900 million to assist tribal governments with response activities.

Health Care Policy

  • Provides a 10 percent increase in federal payments to Medicaid programs for home and community-based services.
  • Provides a 14 percent increase in Federal Medical Assistance Payments to Medicaid programs.
  • Eliminates Medicaid cost-sharing for COVID-19 vaccines or treatments.
  • Provides a State option to cover for COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured through Medicaid.
  • Provides a 2.5 percent increase in Medicaid payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals.
  • Provides no-cost sharing for individuals that receive care for COVID-19 through Medicare Part A or B.
  • Ensures that COVID-19 treatments are provided at no-cost through the Medicare Advantage Program.
  • Requires broad Medicare coverage of COVID-19 treatments without cost-sharing or utilization management protocols.
  • Creates a new special enrollment period for Medicare Part A and B, as well as through the federal exchanges for private coverage.
  • Ensures items and services needed to treat COVID-19 are provided with no cost-sharing through private insurance.
  • Makes the requirement for free COVID-19 testing retroactive to the start of the public health emergency.
  • Extends requirements for no-cost sharing to treat COVID-19 to TRICARE and the VA health system (including no-cost for preventative services within the VA).
  • Requires the appointment of a qualified Medical Supplies Response Coordinator to oversee supply chain logistics.

Proposed Studies

  • Asks the National Academies to conduct a review and make recommendations to encourage domestic manufacturing of critical drugs.
  • Asks the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the feasibility of a Strategic National Stockpile user-fee arrangement.
  • Asks the GAO to study and report on the diagnostic testing response. 

The bill also includes provisions for individual and family economic assistance.

President Trump has threatened to veto the legislation and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not expressed interest in the Senate considering the House bill. The House bill will likely serve as a bargaining position on discussion for further relief legislation.

Last Reviewed: May 2020