WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter with their fellow Senators to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney expressing their concern over the Trump Administration’s failure so far to outline what additional resources it needs to respond to the rapidly developing coronavirus outbreak. The letter comes after earlier this week the Trump Administration released its new budget proposal, which suggested cutting public health and preparedness programs that help protect against global health threats.
“We remain deeply concerned with the rapidly evolving 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)… While we appreciate the critical work happening at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and government-wide to respond to this emergency, the Administration has not been forthcoming about how much funding will be needed to respond to the outbreak,” wrote the Senators.
“Based on the global escalation of cases and the increasing demands on federal, state and local public health agencies, we are concerned that HHS has not requested additional resources. We have heard the growing concerns from states and local public health departments about their escalating costs associated with travel screening, isolation and quarantine, staffing, contracts, goods and services, and equipment for the response… We strongly urge the Administration to transmit an emergency supplemental request that ensures it can and will fully reimburse states for the costs they are incurring as part of this response – including costs associated with the enactment of travel screening and quarantine policies laid out by the Federal government,” the letter continued.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.