Frontline Blog

U.S. Senate Passes Additional Package of Emergency Relief

March 2020

Update: The U.S. House of Representatives passed this bill and President Trump signed it into law on March 27, 2020.

Late last night, the U.S. Senate passed an additional package of emergency relief efforts to support local communities and states respond to, and eventually recover from COVID-19. On behalf of our members, the Big Cities Health Coalition thanks them for taking action to support families in our communities, public health agencies who continue to respond, and our health systems in their clinical response.

In addition to a host of economic supports for individuals and local and state governments, importantly, this bill directs $4.3 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support local, state, and federal public health agencies. This includes:

  • $1.5 billion to support states, locals, territories, and tribes in their efforts to conduct public health activities such as the purchase of personal protective equipment, coronavirus surveillance, infection control and mitigation and the local level and other public health preparedness and response activities;
  • $1.5 billion in flexible funding to support CDC’s continuing efforts to contain and combat the virus, including repatriation and quarantine efforts, purchase and distribution of diagnostic test kits (including for state and local public health agencies) and support for laboratory testing, workforce training programs, combating antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic resistant bacteria as a result of secondary infections related to COVID-19, and communicating with and informing public, state, local, and tribal governments and healthcare institutions;
  • $500 million each for global disease detection and emergency response and public health data surveillance; and
  • $300 million for the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, which supports immediate response activities during outbreaks.

I am encouraged by these investments in our public health infrastructure at this challenging time and will continue to work closely with our members to make sure they have access to both the dollars and the critical medical supplies the federal government must make available to support the local response. Our members are going above and beyond every day, and we at Big Cities Health Coalition will continue to do the same to advocate for sound science and crucial resources on their behalf.