House & Senate passes $484 billion coronavirus deal after stalemate
After about two weeks of gridlock, the Senate approved $484 billion in aid last Tuesday, and the House passed the package on Thursday. The agreement provides $380 billion for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for disease testing. Discussions are still ongoing about global health funding in legislation that could pass in late May or early June. Global Health Council has been hard at work coordinating with the community, to ensure that needs are being shared with Members of Congress and their staff. GHC will be sharing a community sign-on letter with Congressional appropriators and their staff to outline global health needs going forward. More than 70 organizations signed onto the letter. (Thank you all, for your support!) The letter will be shared with Congress early this week and will be available on our website.
Representative McGovern (D-MA) also introduced H.Res. 935, to establish a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The Rules Committee granted, by a recorded vote of 7-4, a rule providing for the adoption of H.Res. 935.
World Health Organization in the News
Recently, the Trump Administration called for a halt on roughly $400 million in annual U.S. aid to the WHO. The first tranche of funding has already been released, but the second tranche is being withheld for 60 days. As reported last Friday, the global health community sent an open letter in support of the WHO to Trump Administration officials calling for continued support of the organization during the pandemic. Administration officials are currently outlining the parameters of a review, the details of which are not yet available. Congress is split on its timing and process.
The WHO also just launched the COVID-19 Tools Accelerator – a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.