UPDATE (03/05/2020): The Senate has quickly passed the emergency funds bill, sending the legislation to Trump’s desk for a signature.
UPDATE (03/04/2020): The House has passed an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus response bill funded with net new money rather than dollars from other critical programs. The Senate must act swiftly to approve this bipartisan legislation.
Donald Trump has systematically undermined the United States’ capacity to respond to novel infectious diseases like the coronavirus known as COVID-19. From eliminating a Bush-era program to monitor emerging illnesses, to firing the White House’s entire pandemic response infrastructure, to proposing a 19% cut to the 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget, Trump has left the US unprepared for the novel coronavirus outbreak spreading worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration is now turning a request for emergency coronavirus funding into a political fight.
The Trump administration has asked Congress for $2.5 billion in COVID-19 funding, an amount even Republicans have called inadequate. Furthermore, the White House wants Congress to reallocate over $535 million in Ebola response funding and $37 million from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to the COVID-19 response. The proposed Ebola funding cuts could endanger efforts to contain an ongoing Ebola epidemic in Democratic Republic of the Congo, while the LIHEAP cuts could eliminate funding help for heating for nearly 750,000 low-income families. Urge Congress to reject the White House request and instead allocate net new emergency funding for the COVID-19 response.