Lawmakers Call for $300 Million Emergency Fund to Fight Pandemics

Preparedness is matter of national security, letter says

Lawmakers from both parties are calling on Congress to establish a dedicated funding source to fight infectious-disease outbreaks, according to an article posted on the Morning Consult website. The fund, which 21 lawmakers requested in a letter to senior House appropriators, would earmark $300 million to help the Trump administration “contain and eradicate future infectious disease epidemics.”

“This is not only an urgent public health concern, it is a matter of national security,” the letter states.

The lawmakers are requesting that the provision be included in the House Appropriations health subcommittee’s fiscal year 2018 spending bill. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), who is a member of the subcommittee, is leading the push, according to the article.

The proposed fund is likened to the Disaster Relief Fund, which was established 40 years ago to respond to natural disasters.

“We cannot afford to be caught flat-footed or constrained in our ability to respond and provide aid in a timely and comprehensive manner when the next public health crisis emerges,” the letter warned.

Sources: Morning Consult; April 11, 2017; and U.S. Congress; April 4, 2017.