WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) today introduced an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to fully address the coronavirus outbreak. The legislation is expected to be considered in the House on Wednesday.
The legislation provides $8.3 billion in all new funding for a robust response to this public health emergency. That includes $950 million for state and local health agencies to conduct vital public health activities, including surveillance, laboratory testing, infection control, contact tracing, and mitigation.
“The American people are counting on our government for a fully-funded, coordinated, and comprehensive government-wide response to the coronavirus,” Chairwoman Lowey said. “House Democrats’ emergency supplemental consists of robust, entirely new funding and strong transparency and accountability measures to fully address the virus and keep Americans safe from this growing public health emergency. We must quickly enact this legislation—lives are at stake.”
Among its provisions, the emergency supplemental introduced by Chairwoman Lowey includes:
- More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
- $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, $950 million of which is to support state & local health agencies;
- Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
- $435 million to support health systems overseas to prevent, prepare, and respond to the coronavirus;
- $300 million to respond to humanitarian needs;
- $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions; and
- Allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.
The emergency supplemental also contains other strong provisions to ensure a full response and keep Americans safe. The bill:
- Requires that funds are only used to fight the coronavirus and other infectious diseases;
- Allows seniors to access telemedicine services for coronavirus treatment;
- Helps ensure that vaccines and treatments for coronavirus are affordable; and
- Ensures that state and local governments are reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response.
Additionally, the bill includes a requirement to reimburse $136 million to important health accounts, including mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention and heating and cooling assistance for low-income families, that was transferred by the Trump administration to support its response.
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