The last time the Trump administration sent a request for money for the fiscal year 2019 budget was in October of last year, when the administration had requested more than $1 billion for a presidential emergency declaration related to the opioid crisis. One thing that’s missing from the president’s request is any money for a pandemic emergency.
In March of this year, legislation was introduced that was approved by Congress that earmarked $6.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services in the federal budget for fiscal year 2019.
“We know that the Trump administration and Congress have made this a high priority. In fact, the president suggested that an emergency response to a flu pandemic be a priority, but the administration’s budget proposal didn’t include an emergency appropriation for it,” said Congressman Ted Lieu, a California Democrat who introduced the bill with bipartisan support, in a statement. “It’s time we prioritize funding to stop pandemics before they start.”
The bill was introduced just weeks after the H7N9, an avian flu virus killed over 160 people in China and Canada earlier this year, with deaths often occurring during the first several days of the disease’s outbreak.
The legislation, which was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, would authorize $3.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including $1.5 billion for pandemic research, and $2.1 billion for CDC grants to state, local and tribal governments that coordinate and sustain health-related departments. It would allocate additional dollars for the development of new research facilities at the CDC, and make $250 million available for state grants, about half of which would be allocated for people who suffer from mental health disorders.
It would allocate nearly $6.7 billion for the Health and Human Services Department and $1.5 billion for the Department of Defense.
Although it’s unclear if the legislation will ever be passed by Congress, the legislation has garnered widespread support across party lines. It is supported by both Senate and House Democrats, as well as Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, and Sen. Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican.
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