The White House and Senate Democrats are at least $6 billion apart when it comes to determining how much funding the federal government needs to combat the coronavirus epidemic.
Soon after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed an $8.5 billion package, a senior Trump administration official told CNN that the administration is “very confident” that its request for $1.25 billion in new emergency funds as part of a $2.5 billion total package will be sufficient to fund the US's coronavirus response.
The official rejected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's $8.5 billion counter and punched back at Democrats who are calling for significantly higher funding levels to respond to coronavirus.
"The Democrats, as predictable, they try to hop onto a crisis to see if there's a way they can make it a Christmas tree," the official said. "We are very confident that our $2.5 billion request is going to be what we need."
The official said the administration's request "was carefully developed based on current and expected expenditures and will fully fund our robust all-of-government response to coronavirus. We’ll continue working with Congress to get this done."
Remember: It's not just Democrats who are saying the Trump administration's funding request is insufficient. Even Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Tuesday that he worried that administration was "lowballing" the request.
And it's possible that pressure will soon come to bear on the administration.
Capitol Hill sources told CNN that the Trump administration has already indicated that they know they will need more money down the line than initially requested. One Republican Senate aide said that while it is true the administration can ask for money whenever they want, the official said it was a strategic mistake for the Trump administration to not ask for a number closer to the Obama administration’s Ebola funding request.
“The naïve thing the administration was thinking was they can ask for what they want now and can come back later,” the source said.