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*** The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking $1.15 billion in supplemental coronavirus funding to dramatically and quickly scale up telemedicine and to support telework at the agency. The funding request is one of the bigger tech-focused pieces of the $45.8 billion supplemental funding sought by the Office of Management and Budget in a March 17 letter to Vice President Mike Pence. Agencies are seeking millions to scale up IT systems to support telework. Telehealth funding also plays a big role in a proposed request for $6.5 billion for Health and Human Services.

*** While many Republican lawmakers downplayed the threat of coronavirus to the U.S. as the virus was raging in China, Korea and Italy, official briefings may have alarmed some senators sufficiently to sell shares in stocks before the markets began their steep slide. The Daily Beast is reporting that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) sold between $1.275 million and $3.1 million between Jan. 24 and Feb. 14, while picking up shares in virtual meeting software firm Citrix and in Oracle. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) also sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million on Feb. 13. Both lawmakers attended private briefings from administration officials about COVID-19 before the sales. Lawmakers are required to disclose shares of stocks.

Posted on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:26 AM


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