Lowey Floor Remarks on Coronavirus Supplemental
WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 6074, an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to address the coronavirus outbreak:
Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
As the coronavirus moves closer to becoming a global pandemic, it is spreading within the United States, including in my own home county, and its death toll continues to grow.
While the Trump administration has repeatedly demonstrated a failure to understand public health needs, Congress is acting with the seriousness and sense of urgency the coronavirus threat demands.
This emergency supplemental is the product of thoughtful bipartisan cooperation.
It provides $8.3 billion in entirely new funding to keep Americans safe, including:
- More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
- $300 million for the government to purchase vaccines at a fair and reasonable price;
- $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 medical supplies, health care preparedness, Community Health Centers, and medical surge capacity; and
- $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad, which helps keep Americans safe here at home.
- Low-interest loans to affected small businesses to cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency.
Finally, several other important provisions have been included that will:
- Allow seniors to access telemedicine services for coronavirus treatment;
- Require the Trump administration to reimburse health accounts that were previously raided to pay for the coronavirus response; and
- Ensure state and local governments are reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response.
Madam Speaker, strong funding in this legislation is a critical first step to enable a strategic, coordinated, and whole-of-government response to the coronavirus.
While we all ardently hope that this public health emergency does not worsen, House Democrats will not hesitate to act again if we must augment this funding with more resources.
I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.