Murray Statement on the American Rescue Plan’s Funding for Testing, Vaccines, and Public Health Work to End the Pandemic
The American Rescue Plan, which the Senate passed today, includes $49 billion for testing, tracing, and sequencing to identify new variants of COVID-19 and slow the spread
Bill also includes $14 billion to improve vaccine distribution and administration, and $50 billion through FEMA to ramp up national vaccination program
American Rescue Plan includes $8 billion to hire and train 100,000 public health workers
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statements on funding included in the American Rescue Plan to support public health work critical to ending the pandemic.
Senator Murray has championed the need for increased testing capacity since the early days of the pandemic—releasing a white paper on how to accomplish this last April, and securing critical funding for testing in past COVID-19 response bills.
“Testing is critical to slow the spread of this virus and end this pandemic—especially so we can stay ahead of new strains of virus as we race to vaccinate everyone. Tests help people make decisions that keep themselves and others safe, help health care providers diagnose and treat patients, and help labs do the sequencing work necessary to identify and track new variants of this virus. The American Rescue Plan will provide funding to help make sure COVID tests are fast, free, accurate, and everywhere, to scale up our public health workforce, and to increase our ability to sequence test samples so we can monitor and manage the spread of new COVID strains.”
Senator Murray has also been a leader in the effort to ensure every person can get safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. She outlined what was necessary for that back in July of last year, secured funding for vaccination efforts in the last COVID relief package, and has continued to emphasize the importance of making sure we address inequities and vaccine hesitancy as vaccinations ramp up so underserved communities and communities of color are not left behind.
“Vaccines are ultimately how we are going to end this pandemic, and I think we can all agree we want this pandemic to end as soon as possible. Safe, effective vaccines, like the ones we have, only work if people actually trust them and get them, and that won’t happen on its own. Investments in the American Rescue Plan will help increase our public health workforce and support vaccine administration, distribution, and information efforts in states, Tribes, and communities across the country.”
The American Rescue Plan includes:
- $14 billion for improving vaccine administration and distribution.
- $50 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund to ramp up the President’s national vaccination program and provide flexible, targeted assistance to state, local, and Tribal governments.
- $49 billion for testing, genomic sequencing of variants, and contact tracing efforts, as well as manufacturing and procurement of PPE. And another $10 billion for the Defense Production Act to procure essential PPE and other medical equipment.
- $8 billion for public health workforce development.
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