The White House $2.5 billion supplemental budget request submitted on Feb. 24 seeks just $1.25 billion in new funding, and plans to make up the difference by diverting funds set up for the Ebola crisis and other public health programs.
The administration is requesting an appropriation of $1.25 billion of emergency funding in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at HHS to continue supporting critical response and preparedness activities. In addition, the Administration is requesting that the Congress permit the $535 million in emergency supplemental funding appropriated in the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020, to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at HHS for the prevention and treatment of Ebola to be used for COVID-19 response. These two proposals would make $1.8 billion in new resources available for the current response.
In response to the supplemental funding request, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: “For almost two years, the Trump Administration has left critical positions in charge of managing pandemics at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security vacant. His most recent budget called for slashing funding for the Centers for Disease Control, which is on the frontlines of this emergency. And now, the President is compounding our vulnerabilities by seeking to ransack funds still needed to keep Ebola in check.”
Pelosi affirmed that the House of Representatives would quickly put forth their own bill.
“Weeks after the Trump Budget called for slashing the CDC budget during this coronavirus epidemic, this undersized funding request shows an ongoing failure to understand urgent public health needs,” said Pelosi.
“Our state and local governments need serious funding to be ready to respond effectively to any outbreak in the U.S. The President should not be raiding money that Congress has appropriated for other life-or-death public health priorities.”