09/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/22/2021 18:15
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Co-Chairman of the COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus,spoke in favor of his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, introduced with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), which would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to receive unused COVID-19 vaccines and to redistribute them where they can be quickly and effectively used, domestically or abroad. The text of the amendment is available here, footage of the Congressman's speech is available here, and a transcript follows below:
Thank you Mr. Speaker.
I urge support of my amendment, which would permit the secretary of HHS to receive unused and oftentimes just about to expire COVID vaccines from states and be able to redistribute them to foreign partners or allies.
Now my primary legislation before the body in Congress is called NOVID. It's a play on words, "no more covid," and this legislation would actually establish a program to vaccinate 60% of the population of the world's 92 poorest countries. I hope that this legislation is taken up by this body and supported by the administration. In the meantime, the least, the very least that we can do, is to donate unused vaccines from the states. Now these vaccines are about to expire, they're going to be no good in just a matter months. And so, instead of allowing them to go to waste, we should donate them abroad.
This is not only the right thing to do, to help to end suffering abroad, but it's the smart thing to do, because then it helps to prevent variants that are generated abroad from coming back home to the United States and further wreaking havoc on our economy. On top of that, we see the Chinese Communist Party going around the world peddling their ineffective Sinovac vaccine and we should be instead vaccinating those populations with effective vaccines.
Again, I hope that the administration utilizes this amendment to great impact and I hope they do more and endorse my NOVID legislation.
Last month, U.S. Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), and Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), along with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, launched the COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus. The caucus builds on Congressman Krishnamoorthi's previous efforts to expand global vaccine aid, including introducing the NOVID Act on June 8th, along with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), which provided a detailed blueprint to invest $34 billion in global vaccine manufacturing and distribution to reach herd immunity in all 92 COVAX countries. On August 4th, the aforementioned Members and Representative Malinowski penned a letter to President Biden, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with 116 Members of Congress requesting the NOVID Act provisions be included in any reconciliation package. On August 10th, 175 public health experts separately wrote to the President demanding that he act immediately to invest in global vaccination. Earlier this year, Congressman Auchincloss called for a Marshall Plan for vaccines and led a resolution backing such an effort with 21 colleagues.