Washington – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) released the statement below after voting for more than $8 billion in emergency funding to combat COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus. The measure passed the Senate 96-1, and is headed to the President’s desk for signature.
“It is critical our nation’s public health system has the resources it needs to combat the spread of coronavirus here in the United States, and I am glad the Senate swiftly passed this supplemental funding. Our federal, state and local agencies have done an amazing job thus far, and this new support will help them continue to do so. With funding for measures including vaccines and therapies to combat the virus, diagnostics, tele-health, state reimbursements and loan subsidies so the Small Business Administration can assist small businesses impacted by the outbreak, this is a truly comprehensive package.”
Senator Scott added, “It is also important that the American people continue to take simple steps to help prevent the spread of the virus, such as vigorous hand washing, and staying home when you are sick. While we can expect the number of confirmed cases to rise as testing for the virus increases, for the majority of Americans the immediate health risk is considered low. By taking common sense steps to help slow the spread of the virus, we all can play an important role. I encourage those with questions and concerns to stay up to date at CDC.gov or their local public health department.”
Specifically, the emergency supplemental funding appropriates:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): $2.2 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies ($950 million of which must go to support states, local, territories, and tribes—with $475 million or more allocated within 30 days). A general provision for reimbursing states and localities for costs incurred since January 20th is included.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): $61 million to: a) facilitate the development of novel countermeasures, vaccines, devices, and therapies to combat the virus; b) monitor and mitigate potential supply chain disruptions; c) assist in enforcement efforts and emergency use authorization (EUA) review; and d) foster investment and innovation in advanced manufacturing methods.
- Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA): More than $2 billion to support R&D for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and platform-based technologies.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): $826 million to support R&D for vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics.
- $300 million in contingency funding for the procurement of vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics.
- Nearly $1 billion for the procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to support preparedness, Community Health Centers (CHCs), and surge capacity.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): $1 billion in allowable loan subsidies for the SBA to make available in order to assist small businesses, cooperatives, and nonprofits negatively impacted by the outbreak.
- Roughly $1.25 billion for State, USAID, and global health-related activities and supports.
- For tele-health, the bill allows the HHS Secretary to waive certain Medicare access restrictions.