Yesterday, a $8.3 billion Coronavirus funding package was passed in the House of Representatives at a vote of 415-2.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) made the following statement concerning the passage of H.R. 6074:
“Today I supported a strong, strategic funding package for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and for expedited vaccine development on the floor of the House. As the federal government and our health officials in Florida work tirelessly to keep Americans safe, this funding package is an important first step in providing robust resources for an effective, whole-of-government response to Coronavirus at home and abroad including more than $3 billion appropriated for research and vaccine development.
“Our package includes $950 million for state and local health agencies to protect the public health, including surveillance, laboratory testing, infection control, contact tracing and mitigation. Our public health professionals in Florida are working around the clock and aid is on to way to ensure that ours and others across the country have the tools they need for prevention, care and communication. This provision will assist the three Florida Department of Health labs — Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville — that are capable of testing for novel coronavirus, which is critical to addressing future cases, and keeping us all safe.
“I continue to work with our nursing homes in Florida, and I’m pleased that this bill provides additional protections for our older neighbors by allowing Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors in our community, at an estimated cost of $500 million. It will take all of us working together to protect our neighbors, especially our vulnerable populations including seniors, and stem the spread of the coronavirus.”
The funding package 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, $950 million of which is to support state & local health agencies;
- Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
- $435 million to support health systems overseas to prevent, prepare, and respond to the coronavirus;
- $300 million to respond to humanitarian needs;
- $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions;
- Allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.
Endorsement of Joe Biden
On Wednesday, Rep. Castor also endorsed former Vice-President Joe Biden for President:
“I confidently endorse Joe Biden for President. Here in Florida and Tampa Bay, we know Joe. Vice President Biden will fight to lift wages, make health care more affordable and accessible, ensure a healthy environment for future generations, and equal opportunity for all Americans. Joe Biden is the best candidate to beat Donald Trump and restore the dignity and respect in the White House that Americans deserve.”