Udall, Heinrich Vote for $8.3 Billion Emergency Coronavirus Response Package

Federal response to novel coronavirus grants over $2 billion to the CDC; New Mexico will receive over $5.9 million to fund state public health response

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted in favor of a $8.3 billion bipartisan, bicameral, coronavirus emergency supplemental Appropriations bill to respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The funds include a major boost of $950 million in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants to state and local governments and $40 million in funds to Tribes, Tribal organizations and Urban Indian Health Organizations. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 96-1, after passing the U.S. House of Representatives 415 to 2, and the president is expected to sign it into law soon.

Under the package, New Mexico will receive a minimum CDC assistance award of $5,974,000 to fund the state’s public health response through an emergency supplement to the state’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) grant.

“The funding package we passed today to address the global coronavirus outbreak is vital to the health and safety of New Mexico communities,” Udall said. “As the Trump White House has struggled to confront this global health emergency, Congress is stepping up to get important resources into the hands of medical professionals and states and Tribes as quickly as possible. I am working closely with the state of New Mexico and New Mexico’s 23 Tribes to ensure we have the necessary resources to protect all of our state’s communities. I appreciate the hard work of medical and public health experts at the New Mexico Department of Health, New Mexico’s Tribal health departments, and the CDC, and I encourage New Mexicans to rely on these agencies for accurate, reliable and up to date information.

“This emergency funding package provides our federal public health agencies with the resources they need to lead an all-hands-on-deck, science-based response to the coronavirus outbreak. Now that Congress has come together to pass this important, bipartisan package, I will do everything in my power to hold the Trump administration accountable for putting public health ahead of politics and treating this global health emergency with the utmost seriousness,” said Heinrich. “I will also continue to work with the state and our tribes to ensure our public health infrastructure in New Mexico is ready for the road ahead and have the resources to prepare and respond to potential outbreaks. I encourage every New Mexican to stay informed about the virus and how to keep yourself and your family healthy.”

The supplemental funding package passed today includes funding for:

Food and Drug Administration- $61 million to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including the development of necessary medical countermeasures and vaccines, advanced manufacturing for medical products, and monitoring of medical product supply chains.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- $2.2 billion

- $950 million for grants to or cooperative agreements with States, localities, territories, tribes, to carry out surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications, and other preparedness and response activities. 
- $40 million allocated directly to Tribes, Tribal organizations, and Urban Indian Health Organizations
- $300 million for global disease detection and emergency response.
Important flexibility for CDC funding to be used as grants for the construction, alteration, or renovation of non-Federally owned facilities to improve preparedness and response capability at the State and local level.

Small Business Administration- $20 million for the Disaster Loans Program Account, which provide low- interest loans to small businesses.

National Institutes of Health- $836 million

- $10,000,000 for worker-based training to prevent and reduce exposure of hospital employees, emergency first responders, and other workers who are at risk of exposure to coronavirus through their work duties.

Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services- $3.1 billion

- Funding will go towards development of necessary countermeasures and vaccines, prioritizing platform-based technologies with U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities, and the purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, necessary medical supplies, medical surge capacity, and related administrative activities.
- $100 million transfer to HRSA for grants under the Health Centers Program.
- Important flexibility for funding to be used as grants for the construction, alteration, or renovation of non-Federally owned facilities to improve preparedness and response capability at the State and local level.

State Department- $264 million

- For necessary expenses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including for maintaining consular operations, reimbursement of evacuation expenses and emergency preparedness.

USAID 

- $1 million for the Office of the Inspector General.
- $435 million Global Health problems bilateral economic assistance.
- $300 million in international disaster assistance
- $250 million for economic support fund 

Telehealth Provision

- Gives the Secretary authority to temporarily waive Medicare telehealth restrictions in order to cover the cost of some services.