WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today delivered remarks on the Senate floor regarding a robust emergency supplemental funding package to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Coronavirus. The package – which provides $7.767 billion in emergency appropriations, more than triple the Administration’s original request – was filed today in the House of Representatives and will allow for necessary precautions, prevention, and treatment at the local, state, federal, and international levels.
Senator Shelby stated, “We listened carefully to the agencies and experts on the front lines in crafting this package. Vice President Pence has been very helpful in this effort, and I appreciate President Trump’s eagerness to sign this legislation. I also want to thank Leaders McConnell and Schumer, Vice Chairman Leahy, Chairwoman Lowey, and Ranking Member Granger for coming together to do the right thing for the American people. We face this crisis together; we are fighting it together. Ultimately, I believe we will prevail together. But now is the time for action.”
Senator Shelby’s full remarks, as prepared, are as follows:
“Mr. President. The American people are apprehensive about the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. and abroad.
“Global financial markets are on edge.
“Both are resilient, but vigorous action is needed to calm nerves, stabilize the situation, and get our arms around this crisis.
“Congress must marshal the resources necessary for an aggressive, comprehensive, and swift response.
“I am pleased to report to my colleagues that we have reached a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on an emergency supplemental appropriations package to do just that.
“The agreement provides a surge in funding at every level – local, state, federal, and international – to meet the growing challenge we face.
“The total amount included in the package is $7.767 billion.
“Mr. President, nearly 85 percent of this funding will be spent right here in the U.S.
“$2.2 billion is for the Centers for Disease Control, including no less than $950 million to help state and local governments prevent and combat the spread of the virus.
“$836 million will go to the National Institutes of Health, to train health care workers on the front lines and to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines related to the virus.
“$61 million will support the Food and Drug Administration’s role in approving such products.
“$3.1 billion is for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, to supplement the Strategic National Stockpile; develop and purchase diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; provide resources for community health centers; and help hospitals and health systems adapt and respond.
“Another $300 million is made available for the purchase of additional diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines should further need arise.
“Finally, to fight the spread of the virus abroad, $1.25 billion is provided to the State Department and USAID to continue their work with our international partners.
“Mr. President, we listened carefully to the agencies and experts on the front lines in crafting this package.
“Vice President Pence has been very helpful in this effort, and I appreciate President Trump’s eagerness to sign this legislation.
“I also want to thank Leaders McConnell and Schumer, Vice Chairman Leahy, Chairwoman Lowey, and Ranking Member Granger for coming together to do the right thing for the American people.
“We face this crisis together; we are fighting it together.
“Ultimately, I believe we will prevail together.
“But now is the time for action.
“The House will act first; all indications are that they will pass it swiftly.
“When the package arrives in the Senate, I urge my colleagues to do the same so we can get help to those who need it and ease some of the anxiety stemming from this outbreak. I think we owe it to the American people to do no less.
“And with that I yield the floor.”