The Gist: The spread of coronavirus in the United States has prompted action from the U.S. House of Representatives to the tune of about $8.3 billion. Wednesday, the House passed a resolution that would fund relief to those potentially impacted by the virus.
The Funding: The measure includes funding for vaccine development, public health and medical supplies among other items. The money is divided up as follows:
- 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 & local health agencies;
- Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
- $435 million to support health systems overseas to prevent, prepare, and respond to the coronavirus;
- $300 million to respond to humanitarian needs;
- $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions; and
- Allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.
The Support: Support for the resolution was truly bipartisan and overwhelmingly so. The resolution passed by a 415-2 vote.
What Georgia’s Representatives Are Saying: Two of Georgia’s representatives were quick to make statements on the bill, one republican and one democrat.
Democratic Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, who represents middle and Southwest Georgia had this to say: “After the recent months of illnesses and deaths from coronavirus, it was clear America needed a robust response to protect our citizens’ health. We on the Appropriations Committee worked quickly to put together the $8.3 billion supplemental to this public health emergency. I am pleased with the comprehensive and coordinated funding package, that includes vaccine development, support for state and local governments, and assistance for affected small businesses.”
Republican Congressman Tom Graves, who represents Northwest Georgia said the following: ““Though the risk to many Americans remains low, it’s important that we are prepared and fully equipped to combat the spread of the coronavirus. I commend Vice President Mike Pence and the Administration’s coronavirus taskforce for keeping us updated and informed as more information becomes available. This emergency legislation will speed up the development of a possible vaccine and help provide testing kits for Americans across the country. It will also provide more support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s state and local response efforts.”