CONGRESSMAN JOE MORELLE TAKES ACTION TO ADDRESS CORONAVIRUS AND PROTECT AMERICANS DURING PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle voted for a comprehensive $8.3 billion supplemental appropriations bill to address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis. This emergency funding includes support for vaccine development, aid for state and local governments and health agencies, and assistance for affected small businesses.
“As coronavirus spreads, it is critical that we take action now to respond to this growing threat and protect the American people,” said Rep. Morelle. “That is why my colleagues and I in the House of Representatives moved swiftly to pass this emergency funding package and ensure our communities have the resources necessary to tackle this public health crisis efficiently and effectively. We will continue to monitor the spread of this virus and work in coordination with partners at all levels of government to keep the public informed, up-to-date, and most importantly: safe.”
The bipartisan, bicameral appropriations package is comprised of entirely new funding that is not diverted from other critical public health priorities. Specifically, it 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 and local health agencies to conduct vital public health activities, including surveillance, laboratory testing, infection control, contact tracing, and mitigation;
- Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
- $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions;
- An estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses to help cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency;
The emergency supplemental also contains additional provisions to support a comprehensive, coordinated response that keeps Americans safe. The bill:
- Requires that funds are only used to fight the coronavirus and other infectious diseases;
- Allows Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live;
- 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.
The legislation passed the House of Representatives and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration. For continued updates and resources related to coronavirus, members of the community are encouraged to visit https://morelle.house.gov/coronavirus.