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Rep. Cartwright Statement on Coronavirus Emergency Federal Funding

Mar 4, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) today issued the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee unveiled an $8.3 billion emergency funding package to address the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the U.S.:

“Democrats and Republicans on this committee have come together to craft a strong, comprehensive funding package to fight and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “In helping to accelerate vaccine development, distribute protective equipment, and make assistance available to small businesses affected by the outbreak, it meets the seriousness of this situation in a multifaceted way. Importantly, it also ensures that vaccines will be affordable for all who need them when they become available.”

This emergency funding package will be voted on later today in the U.S. House of Representatives. It includes:

  • 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 emergency supplemental also contains other strong provisions to ensure a full response and keep Americans safe. The bill: 

  • Requires that funds are only used to fight the coronavirus and other infectious diseases;
  • Allows seniors to access telemedicine services for coronavirus treatment;
  • Helps ensure that vaccines and treatments for coronavirus are affordable; and
  • Ensures that state and local governments are reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response.

Additionally, the bill includes a requirement to reimburse $136 million to important health accounts, including mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention and heating and cooling assistance for low-income families, that was transferred by the Trump administration to support its response.

The text of the funding package, H.R. 6074, can be viewed here. A summary can be viewed here.

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, over 20 vaccines are under development around the world, but it is expected to be over a year before any are proven effective and ready for widespread use. In the meantime, the best way to prevent this disease is to avoid being exposed through everyday preventive measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“As health care professionals and officials prepare for potential cases in our area, the most important thing we all can do is engage in proper preventive measures like frequent hand-washing, avoiding contact with those who are sick when possible and cleaning frequently touched surfaces,” Rep. Cartwright continued. “These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.”