On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to support the Bipartisan COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 4373). It is crucial that Congress swiftly pass this legislation to maintain our nation’s current efforts to overcome the COVID pandemic. Failure to enact this legislation would deny millions of people the vaccines and treatments that are necessary to save lives, keep children in schools, and allow workers to stay on the job.
Unfortunately, the COVID threat remains – it still claims lives and takes a toll on our economy. Currently, there are more than 25,000 new cases of COVID and nearly 600 Americans are dying each day from the disease, marking a relative low point in the progress of the pandemic. The BA.2 subvariant of the virus is causing cases to skyrocket overseas, and medical experts agree that the U.S. is likely to see future surges in cases as the virus continues to evolve.
The $10 billion in emergency response funds included in this package will help sustain the nation’s capacity to fight the virus. For the next several weeks, it provides resources for vaccines, oral antivirals, and tests, and it continues research in pursuit of new vaccines for emerging variants. This is important stopgap funding.
We urge you to pass this legislation as quickly as possible and then begin work to craft a full-fledged approach to dealing with the current stage of the pandemic. We can only insulate our jobs and lives from the ravages of this virus by protecting frontline workers from infection; providing paid leave; funding more vaccination and testing; providing relief to schools and educational institutions; and contributing substantial resources toward a global response. We look forward to working with you in pursuit of these goals.
Director, Government Affairs