The U.S. House of Representatives vote overwhelmingly passed, 415 to 2, H.R. 6074, a bill that provides over $12 billion in funding for Coronavirus preparedness and response. All of Iowa’s members in the House voted in favor of the bill.
By Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 130 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 16 states. There have been 11 reported deaths in the United States.
Iowa’s State Epidemiologist told the press on Tuesday that the risk in Iowa remains low.
“While this is not a time to panic, we do know that folks in our community are worried and want to know professionals and experts are taking every step they can to keep people safe from the coronavirus,” U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, said in a released statement. “That’s why I voted today to put money into research for vaccines and treatments. Also, this package will help ensure our local health agencies have the resources they need to handle a response. I am proud the House is stepping up to properly this national response.”
“Today, Democrats and Republicans alike voted to ensure our public health professionals – experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa Department of Public Health, and local providers — have the resources they need to protect our communities,” U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said in a released statement. “While Iowa does not have a confirmed case of coronavirus, this funding will reinforce our community health providers’ ability to accurately test for and minimize spread of this virus.“
“I’m also glad that we included provisions to support development of a vaccine and ensure that all Americans will have access to it once it becomes available,” she continued. “No family should have to worry, in the face of this disease, that protecting their children and household might be out of financial reach.”
“President Trump and Vice President Pence have been working hard and effectively to contain the spread of China’s deadly coronavirus in the United States, and Congress has a responsibility to ensure that funds are available to assist their efforts,” U.S. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in a released statement. “This bill provides an immediate boost to state and local response efforts, and it will also provide funding to expedite the development of a vaccine. Coronavirus is one import from China that Americans do not want at any price, and I am pleased that a bipartisan consensus on this legislation was arrived at so quickly so that we could act together to protect Americans from this disease.”
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, did not offer a public statement.
The bill specifically includes:
- More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics
- $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response
- Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity
- Authorization for an estimated $7 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofit organizations that have suffered financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak
- Requirements that vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics developed using taxpayer funds must be available for purchase by the federal government at a fair and reasonable price
- Language allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take actions to ensure that any vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics developed using this bill’s funds will be affordable in the commercial market
The Senate is expected to pass the bill shortly and send it to the President to sign it into law.