Washington, D.C. – Senators are negotiating the terms of a supplemental appropriations bill to address Covid. It has been reported that they have removed from the package funding to address global Covid needs.
In response, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman issued the following statement:
“In failing to address the global pandemic by sharing vaccine technology and providing sufficient financial support to poorer countries, the United States has let hundreds of thousands – and likely millions of people — in poorer countries die needlessly. Equally, that failure has enabled the development of new variants which has worsened the pandemic at home. All of this was predictable – and predicted.
“Although experts inside the administration believed the urgent global need to be on the order of $20 billion, the White House belatedly asked Congress for $5 billion in assistance for global Covid. And now, shockingly, it is being reported that funding to meet global Covid needs may be eliminated altogether from an upcoming Covid supplemental appropriations bill.
“Such a move would be unconscionable, cruel, and stupid. Not only would it consign poorer countries, especially in Africa, to more death and disease, it would invite a resurgence of the pandemic in the United States. How could this lesson not be learned?
“It is imperative that Congress pass a Covid appropriations bill to address ongoing costs for a pandemic that continues. But that funding *must* include substantial support to address global Covid priorities. This is a humanitarian imperative. It is self-interest. It will save taxpayers from the far greater costs of a persistent pandemic. It is common sense. A bill aiming to address Covid that does not address global Covid will fail in its objective.”