Is Congress Shortchanging Pandemic Preparedness Funding?

Is Congress Shortchanging Pandemic Preparedness Funding?

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Washington Post Columnist Catherine Rampell reports that the bipartisan infrastructure package being considered in the Senate doesn’t include any of the $30 billion in “biopreparedness and biosecurity” funding that President Joe Biden proposed in his own infrastructure plan.

“Public health experts,” she writes, “hoped it would be shifted into the reconciliation bill that Democrats plan to pass with a party-line vote. Senate aides have told me, however, that while there is a line item in the reconciliation package for pandemic preparedness funding, it has been shaved down — from Biden’s original $30 billion to about $5 billion.”

Rampell says that, while Congress has provided $10 billion for similar purposes in a previous Covid relief bill, public health experts are concerned that we’re not taking the necessary long-term view when it comes to pandemic preparedness. “A year and a half into covid-19, with more than 613,000 Americans dead and cases rising again, lawmakers still aren’t ready to commit the funds necessary to prevent another tragedy of this scale,” Rampell writes. “If these conditions aren’t sufficiently motivating, what would be?”

Read the full piece at The Washington Post.