08/04/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/04/2021 19:31
WASHINGTON - Today, Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL), Tom Malinowski (NJ), and Pramila Jayapal (WA) wrote to President Biden calling on the President to support the inclusion of robust funding for global vaccination in reconciliation. In their letter to the President, the Members argue that this is necessary to protect Americans from the spread of deadly new variants, such as Delta and Lambda. Specifically, the letter, which has the bicameral support of 116 Members of Congress, including more than half of the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, advocates for $34 billion in the reconciliation package to go toward an international, American-led global vaccination program to help inoculate the 6 billion people worldwide who have not yet received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
'We respectfully ask that you lend your voice to this cause and support the inclusion of robust funding in the reconciliation package to implement a global vaccination program sufficient to vaccinate at least 60% of the populations in the 92 COVAX AMC countries,' the lawmakers wrote in their letter to President Biden. 'We respectfully submit, Mr. President, that any legislative package focused on American jobs and families must address the biggest issue facing American jobs and families. Today, that issue is the COVID-19 pandemic.'
In the letter to Congressional leadership, led by Reps. Krishnamoorthi, Malinowski, Jayapal, and Senators Merkley and Warren, the Members stressed that 'No investment in the fight against COVID-19 is more urgent and cost-effective now than an investment in getting the world vaccinated as quickly as possible. Even assuming wealthy countries will be fully vaccinated by mid-2021, the global economic cost of not vaccinating lower-income countries is estimated to be $9 trillion per year, or nearly ten percent of global GDP. $34 billion is a small price to pay to help return the U.S. and global economy to normalcy, and we request that such an amount is included in the upcoming spending package.
The letter is based on Congressman Krishnamoorthi's Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate (NOVID) Act, which he introduced alongside Senator Jeff Merkley (OR), Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). The NOVID Act would dramatically expand the United States' international vaccination efforts through helping to inoculate at least 60% of the populations of the 92 low- and middle-income countries. This would reduce the risk of more dangerous, new COVID-19 variants emerging throughout the world - such as the Delta variant, which is already wreaking havoc on U.S. public health making up more than 90% of new COVID-19 infection cases. Notably, the NOVID Act would not only provide 8 billion vaccines to the world's poorest nations but also ensure their delivery to patients.