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Murray Applauds Investments to Build Public Health Workforce, Emphasizes Need to Maintain Progress After Pandemic

Biden Administration announced investment of $7.4 billion from American Rescue Plan to hire and train public health workers to respond to COVID-19 and begin to build the public health workforce for the future


Murray has fought for public health funding, and proposed legislation to end the cycle of crisis and complacency in public health


Washington, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in response to the Biden Administration announcing that it will invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers to fight the pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges.


“We need to vastly build out our public health infrastructure and workforce to end this pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges—so I’m glad President Biden is using funds we provided in the American Rescue Plan to do just that,” said Senator Murray. “Next we have to make sure we maintain this progress after the crisis is over, by passing my Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act to provide dedicated, annual investments that will finally end the cycle of crisis and complacency in public health funding.”


Senator Murray fought to secure robust funding in the American Rescue Plan to bolster the nation’s public health workforce, including investments in public health departments on the frontlines. She has also repeatedly emphasized the need to maintain public health infrastructure after the pandemic ends to make sure the country is prepared for the next public health emergency, and reintroduced the Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act (PHISLA) to accomplish this.

PHISLA would establish a core public health infrastructure program to strengthen the country’s public health system—including the nation’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic—through grants to State, territorial, local, and Tribal health departments and increased investments at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The bill also supports development and implementation of national public health accreditation. The funding for the program would ramp up over five years to $4.5 billion annually and then remain at that level, and the program would be aimed at specifically addressing eight core capabilities:


  1. Public health assessment
  2. Preparedness and response
  3. Policy development and support
  4. Communications
  5. Community partnership development
  6. Organizational competencies
  7. Accountability
  8. Equity