Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the agreement for a $7.8 billion supplemental funding bill to limit the spread of the coronavirus and begin developing a vaccine:
“I strongly support the agreement to provide $7.8 billion in supplemental funding to aggressively battle the coronavirus. Just today, California saw its first coronavirus death in Placer County. My thoughts are with the friends and family of the victim.
“While it remains unknown how widespread this virus is inside the United States, it has the potential to cause substantial disruption, illness and death, and we must be prepared for that possibility. California has been on the front lines of the coronavirus response, and Congress must make sure that federal, state and local health providers have the funds they need for testing, protective equipment, medical supplies and more.
“In addition to funds for USAID, CDC and other HHS agencies, the agreement also includes $1 billion to reimburse state and local health departments and hospitals and $826 million to research and test a vaccine.
“It’s imperative that the American public not panic, but it’s equally important that all of us prepare. The same goes for all levels of government. If we’re prepared for a wider outbreak, we’ll be in a much better position to control it. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and hope this goes away. And this funding bill helps position us to be ready.”
What the agreement includes:
- Vaccine development: $826 million will be devoted to developing and testing vaccines and other medical countermeasures for the coronavirus, a vital step to control its spread.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $2.2 billion to help support state and local health departments, hospitals, research efforts and more. These funds will also go toward evacuating Americans from China, send CDC staff to affected areas and provide equipment and supplies – including protective equipment – to front line personnel.
- Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund: $3.1 billion will help the Department of Health and Human Services dedicate sufficient funds and resources to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus, including by ensuring that all health care workers have access to critical personal protective equipment.
- Department of State and USAID: $1.25 billion will help the global health community fight the coronavirus. Assisting in the global response is imperative to prevent the spread and long-term viability of this virus, and the United States is best equipped to lead this effort.
- State and local reimbursement: $1 billion will be set aside to reimburse state and local health departments and hospitals that are battling the coronavirus outbreak. Cities and states have already spent millions of dollars on personnel, lab equipment and supplies, and more funds will be needed for staff, hospitals and lab testing.