Rep. Andy Levin Votes for $8.3 Billion to Combat Coronavirus
Congressman Andy Levin today voted to appropriate $8.3 billion to fund a coordinated, nationwide response to the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
“There’s a lot that federal, state and local health agencies can do to combat the coronavirus, but only if their efforts are fully funded,” Rep. Levin said. “Today, House Democrats acted quickly to pass a bill that would meet the challenges posed by COVID-19. The $8.3 billion we approved today will ensure that prevention, treatment and vaccine development happen swiftly using any resources necessary to keep families healthy and safe.
“The funds appropriated by the bill are entirely new—that means that no money will be taken away from other critical public health priorities. It is crucial that the Senate take up the bill without delay so that the president can sign it immediately and bolster Americans’ response to the virus.”
Congressman Levin last week questioned Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield about his agency’s efforts to protect Americans from the coronavirus.
Today’s bill includes the following:
- 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;
- $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions;
- $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad to help keep Americans safe here at home; and
- Allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses, to help cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency.
- In keeping with House Democrats’ commitment to lower drug costs, the legislation provides $300 million so the government can purchase vaccines at a fair and reasonable price.
The emergency supplemental also contains other strong provisions to ensure a full response. The bill:
- Allows seniors to access telemedicine services for coronavirus treatment;
- Requires the Trump administration to reimburse health accounts that were previously raided to pay for the coronavirus response;
- Ensures state and local governments are reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response.