Alexander: Congress Acting Quickly to Fight Coronavirus

Says nearly $8 billion in new emergency spending will support research and development of a vaccine and purchase additional medical supplies

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2020 — Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the coronavirus supplemental funding legislation:

“This legislation will deliver an important boost in funding to fight coronavirus and the Senate should pass it this week so President Trump can sign it into law as soon as possible. The United States has taken aggressive steps to keep Americans safe from the coronavirus and to prepare for additional cases, and this legislation will help that effort. We have not seen the virus spread as quickly as other countries, but we do expect to see an increase in the number of cases.

“As Chairman of the Senate health committee, I will continue to work to make sure that the Administration is implementing the preparedness and response framework for emerging public health threats that Congress has already provided and continue supporting state and local public health departments.”

Background on the legislation:

  • The legislation provides a total of $7.8 billion in new emergency funding to fight coronavirus.
  • The legislation includes $3.1 billion for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to purchase additional medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile; support the research and development of vaccines, treatments; and diagnostic tests; and support preparedness for hospitals and health systems.
  • The legislation includes $2.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
    • Including $1 billion dollars that will go to state and local governments.
    • Including $300 million for the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund, the fund that Congress created in fiscal year 2019 that provided the initial funds for HHS to respond quickly to threats like coronavirus.
    • Including $300 million to continue CDC’s support for global health security, which improves public health systems around the world so that diseases can be contained sooner.
  • The legislation includes $826 million for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health, for research and development of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
  • The legislation includes $1.25 billion for the Department of State and USAID to continue our international response.