After Urging by Members of Congress, the Biden Administration formally requested an additional $5 billion for U.S. efforts to fight COVID-19 around the world
Washington (March 4, 2022) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Pramila Jayapal (MA-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), and Jake Auchincloss (MA-04) issued the following statement today in response to the White House’s request to Congress for $5 billion in additional funding to support the global COVID-19 response, which follows the Caucus’ January 25th letter to President Biden urging him to seek such funding:
“We welcome the Biden Administration’s request to Congress for $5 billion in additional funding for global vaccination efforts, which follows multiple letters from our offices emphasizing the dire need for this funding. Although we are frustrated by the absence of a request for funding for vaccine manufacturing, and the $5 billion is well below what we and other global health advocates have called for, the additional funding for vaccinations, treatment, and prevention is urgently needed. The world stands at a critical juncture. Even as the Omicron surge has abated domestically, billions remain unvaccinated globally. The year ahead will be the most operationally intensive phase of the global COVID-19 response, as we work to vaccinate at least 70% of the populations of low- and lower-middle-income countries. This U.S.-led effort is essential not only to save lives around the world, but also to prevent the emergence of future variants that will continue to threaten American lives here at home.
It is now up to Congress to pass this crucial funding immediately. With only 13% of people living in low-income countries having received a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine, the challenge before us is enormous, and it is absolutely necessary that these efforts are adequately funded. USAID expects to have fully obligated the $5.175 billion it received from the American Rescue Plan Act imminently. The global effort to vaccinate the world and end this pandemic is therefore fundamentally dependent on our colleagues in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, coming together to pass additional foreign aid funding. We strongly support the Biden administration’s commitment to accelerate and expand U.S.-led global vaccination efforts, and we look forward to continuing to work with the President and congressional leadership to enact this funding as soon as possible and lead us out of the pandemic.”