Rep. Axne Reinforces Federal, State, and Local Efforts to Combat Coronavirus with Vote to Advance $8.3 Billion Funding Bill

March 4, 2020
Press Release
Comprehensive emergency funding legislation includes provisions to prevent further outbreak, develop improved treatments, and ensure access to future vaccine

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted with a bipartisan majority in the House to advance a $8.3 billion funding package aimed at boosting federal, state, and local efforts to curb the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The package provides robust support to ongoing efforts to curb the growing public health emergency in the U.S. It allocates billions of dollars to support public health prevention and response efforts, the development of improved testing and treatment, and unimpeded access to critical medical supplies.

“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,” said Rep. Axne. “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,” continued Axne. “No family should have to worry, in the face of this disease, that protecting their children and household might be out of financial reach.”

The legislation passed today 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 funding package now heads to the United States Senate, which is expected to pass the bill shortly and send it to the President to become law.

The legislation comes less than a week after Rep. Axne wrote, with 34 of her freshman colleagues, to call on House and Senate leadership to pass a comprehensive funding bill on COVID-19.

Rep. Axne has used her role as a public official to help share guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Her website includes prevention recommendations from both agencies, as well as travel guidance from the U.S. Department of State and warnings about potential scams related to coronavirus. She has also used recent media appearances and her regular e-newsletter to share advice on good community hygiene practices.

Rep. Axne is encouraging all Iowans who have questions or want updates about novel coronavirus to visit the websites for the CDC or the IDPH.

“I will continue to help share the most up-to-date information on efforts to minimize the spread of novel coronavirus,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m grateful for our public health professionals’ diligent and tireless work in responding to this public health crisis, and I know they are working night and day to develop treatments, improved tests kits, and preventive measures to keep our country healthy and safe.”