Senate Could Approve Bipartisan Deal As Early as Thursday
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Debbie Stabenow (MI) today announced that they secured resources for Michigan to protect public health and security amid the Coronavirus outbreak. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the support. The Senate may vote on the bipartisan funding agreement as early as this Thursday, following passage in the House of Representatives.
Michigan will receive $14.5 million in federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prepare against any outbreak and improve readiness. In addition, funding will go towards priorities Peters previously outlined, including personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and vaccines and reimbursing state and local governments for detection and prevention efforts. Peters pushed for these priorities after convening a call with public health officials and hospitals from across Michigan on preventing the spread of Coronavirus within the state.
“Coronavirus is a threat that we need to take seriously – and that’s why I’ve been pressing for more federal resources to detect, prepare and respond to any potential outbreak,” said Senator Peters. “After hearing about Michigan’s priorities firsthand I helped secure this funding to address the most immediate health and security needs for Michiganders. Ensuring our country is safe is my top priority in the U.S. Senate, and I’m going to continue working to make sure we have the resources and support to address a potential outbreak effectively.”
“Senator Peters and I worked across the aisle to secure millions in funding for Michigan to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and keep our loved ones healthy and safe. This bipartisan bill will include much needed funding for medical equipment, vaccine development, staffing, and more. I will continue to make sure our communities have the resources they need,” said Senator Stabenow.
“It’s more important than ever that we all work together to prevent the spread of Coronavirus,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am grateful for the leadership of Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow, and the Michigan delegation to secure this critical funding for Michigan. I will continue to work closely with our local, state, and federal partners to assess our needs to ensure we have the resources necessary to keep Michiganders safe.”
The proposed $8.3 billion supplemental funding package supports a number of efforts, including:
- $14.5 million for Michigan for public health response efforts;
- $350 million for “hot spots” funding which Michigan municipalities can apply for in the event of an outbreak;
- $500 million for masks, protective equipment and other medical supplies to allow the federal government to distribute to state and local governments and hospitals;
- $950 million to reimburse for activities state and local governments have already undertaken, including: Coronavirus monitoring; laboratory testing to detect positive cases; contact tracing to identify additional positive cases; infection control at the local level to prevent additional cases; mitigation in areas with person-to-person transmission to prevent additional cases; and other public health preparedness and response activities. Hospitals and other providers can enter into cooperative agreements with states to access this money;
- $100 million for Community Health Centers;
- Funding to develop a Coronavirus vaccine;
- Requiring consideration of supply chain security and identification of U.S.-based manufacturing facilities for key supplies;
- Funding for the CDC Infectious Disease Rapid Response Fund, which helps send out CDC personnel and resources to local hot spots; and
- Training for local responders and surge bed capacity in hot spots.
Peters has pressed for a strong federal response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Yesterday, he hand-delivered a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the Trump Administration to launch a centralized federal website – “Coronavirus.gov” – to provide trusted information to the American people about the Coronavirus outbreak. Last week, Peters convened a call with public health officials and hospitals from across Michigan on preventing the spread of Coronavirus within the state. Peters also joined Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) in requesting detailed information about the Trump Administration’s strategy for responding to the emerging outbreak and called on the Administration to fully fund pandemic preparedness and response efforts in the 2021 budget. He also questioned the Trump Administration’s decision to allow patients infected with the Coronavirus to return to the U.S. on a plane with healthy passengers – possibly risking exposure to the virus. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Peters and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) expressed their concerns that the Administration disregarded the advice of the public health and national security experts, and could have risked a broader community outbreak within the U.S. In addition, Peters joined Johnson in pressing the Administration for information on the security of the nation’s medical supply chain, which could lead to shortages of critical drugs and medical equipment due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Peters has been briefed at the White House on the Administration’s ongoing efforts to contain the outbreak, and he convened a roundtable discussion with public health and security leaders to examine the federal government’s actions to limit the spread of the deadly virus. Peters also joined his colleagues in calling on the Administration to appoint a global health security expert to the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) to coordinate the Administration’s Coronavirus response efforts. The NSC has been without a health expert for almost two years.
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