Crushing the COVID-19 Pandemic
Our top priority is to provide the Biden Administration with the resources it needs to crush the COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked to expand the availability and administration of lifesaving vaccines and fought for the implementation of a national testing strategy so that we can end this tragic pandemic as soon as possible.
Passed the American Rescue Plan, which provides the tools and resources necessary to crush this terrible virus: On March 10, 2021, the House passed the American Rescue Plan which will support the national effort to ramp up distribution and administration of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines as well as the implementation of a national testing strategy that will help us quickly track and contain the virus. The legislation advanced out of the Committee on February 12, 2021.
Passed the Build Back Better Act, which had advanced out of the Committee, that makes additional investments in our public health infrastructure and workforce, as well as funding to prepare for future pandemics: The legislation invests $9.5 billion in our public health infrastructure and workforce, including investments to support the construction and modernization of community health centers. It also provides $10 billion in targeted investments for pandemic preparedness so our nation will be able to address any future public health emergencies, including providing critical resources to improve capacity at public health departments, shoring up our Strategic National Stockpile, and strengthening our supply chains.
- Democrats invest in public health preparedness: On February 4, 2022, the House passed the America COMPETES Act by a vote of 222-210. The bill includes provisions to foster the development of advanced and continuous manufacturing technology to increase our ability to quickly produce prescription drugs. It also supports efforts to replenish and modernize strategic stockpiles of medical supplies to ensure we’re prepared for future public health emergencies by investing:
- $45 billion for grants, loans, and loan guarantees to support supply chain resilience and manufacturing of critical goods, industrial equipment, and manufacturing technology;
- $100 million to increase the domestic drug manufacturing base through the establishment of National Centers of Excellence in Advanced and Continuous Manufacturing;
- $1.5 billion to establish a medical supply chain flexibility manufacturing pilot program; and
- $10.5 billion for a new grant program to states to expand or maintain a strategic stockpile of drugs, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and other products.
Held four oversight hearings on availability, distribution, and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as vaccine hesitancy: The first three hearings examined how states, vaccine manufacturers, and the Biden Administration are working to increase COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure they are equitably distributed. The vaccine hesitancy hearing examined how to continue building trust in the safety and efficacy of vaccines, reduce access barriers and encourage unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.
- Demanded answers from tech CEOs about insufficient progress on curbing COVID-19 vaccine disinformation: Committee leaders wrote to Facebook, Twitter, and Google as part of an investigation into the tech companies’ continued mishandling of COVID-19 disinformation. The Committee continues to monitor the actions that these companies have taken to review the content posted on their platforms, and whether such content violates the terms of service.
- Held a hearing on long-COVID and its lingering effects: The Health Subcommittee examined the work the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the health care and patient community are doing to better understand the long-term effects of COVID-19. The Subcommittee explored what is needed to ensure there can be a full recovery from this virus as we forge a path toward a post-pandemic future.
- Held a hearing on vaccine access: The Health Subcommittee examined legislation during a hearing on June 15, 2021, to prevent future outbreaks by expanding access and coverage of vaccines, increasing awareness and uptake, and improving data collection.
- Examined legislation to advance equity and public health: On June 24, 2021, the Health Subcommittee held a hearing to strengthen our nation’s public health data infrastructure and improve our understanding and response to social determinants of health. The COVID-19 crisis and its disproportionate impact on communities of color has underscored the importance of robust public health data and the need to better understand the impacts of economic and social conditions on health.
- House-passed bipartisan bills to help frontline workers and fund research: The House passed numerous bipartisan bills on December 8, 2021, that came out of the Committee, that invest in our nation’s public health by providing caregivers, providers, and patients with the resources and support they need. These bills would also increase access to life-saving vaccines.