Senate approves coronavirus relief bill with $10.5 billion for Defense Department

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes $2.4 billion to shore up the defense industrial base

WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a $2 trillion emergency relief package to inject cash into the U.S. economy that includes $10.5 billion for the Defense Department — $2.4 billion of which is to help blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on DoD suppliers.

The Senate late Wednesday passed 96-0 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A House voice vote is expected on Friday.

According to a summary of the bill released March 25 by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the $10.5 billion allocated for DoD includes:

  • $1.45 billion to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on production lines, supply chain, military depots, and labs.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to increase access to materials necessary for national security and pandemic recovery.
  • $1.8 billion for military health care costs and to procure additional medical equipment; a
  • $1.6 billion for the expansion of military treatment facilities
  • $415 million for the development of vaccines, anti-virals, lab operations and the procurement of diagnostic tests.
  • $627.8 million for the procurement of pharmaceuticals and physical protection equipment.
  • $1.5 billion for emergency deployments of the National Guard.
  • $713.6 million for medical supplies and physical protection equipment on installations and ships.
  • $300 million to procure IT equipment and increase bandwidth
  • $1.1 billion to cover shortfalls in defense private sector care
  • $20 million for the office of the Inspector General for additional personnel to conduct audits and evaluations of COVID-19 emergency funding

The bill allows the president to extend the service of senior military officials whose appointments are scheduled to expire during COVID-19 crisis to ensure continuity of senior military leadership.