NEW ORLEANS — Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed frustration with Trump administration officials about inconsistent information about the coronavirus threat.

Tuesday Senator John Kennedy, R-Louisiana voiced his dissatisfaction with Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
     
During a hearing, Wolf could not answer basic questions about how close we are to a coronavirus vaccine or whether the country has enough medical equipment to respond to an outbreak.

"You're supposed to keep us safe," Kennedy said. "The American people deserve some straight answers on the coronavirus and I'm not getting them from you."

President Trump requested $2.5 billion to combat the coronavirus.

Senate Democrats made a request for $8.5 billion.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, speaking on Fox News, responded to the possibility of a spending showdown in Congress.

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"This is not a political issue," Scalise said. "Coronavirus doesn't care about your party affiliation if it's going to strike. Luckily we've been able to limit its influence coming into the United States."

Senator Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, told WWL-TV, Congress has time to amend the president's initial ask if needed.

"We don't know if it's adequate to produce the vaccine, to develop the drugs and the other therapeutics and if it's a long time before it comes to our shores, we're good," Cassidy said. "If it comes to our shores more quickly and we need to put in more effort, then perhaps more money will be needed."

Cassidy is pushing for a Public Health Emergency Fund.

It would allow health officials to spend money on emergencies like the Coronavirus without having to wait on Congressional approval.

"We can imagine that it will eventually get to our shores," Cassidy said. "It's now in 31 countries."

There are now 59 people in the U.S. who have tested positive for the Coronavirus according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That number is expected to grow.

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