On March 9, U.S. Congress announced it would pull a critical $5 billion global COVID-19 funding package from the FY22 omnibus.
The following quote can be attributed to Ritu Sharma, CARE Vice President of US Programs and Policy:
“Yesterday, Congress pulled a critical $5 billion global COVID-19 response funding package out of the FY22 omnibus while billions around the world remain unvaccinated. If this Congress isn’t willing to devote a tiny fraction of the budget to stopping COVID, they need to brace themselves for the next variant. Our economy will suffer far more from continuing shutdowns and collapsing supply chains – not to mention losing thousands more lives.
There is strong bipartisan and bicameral support for resourcing the global COVID-19 response. All previously appropriated money for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Department of State has been spent, leaving no more U.S. Government funding to vaccinate the world or deal with the secondary impacts of COVID-19. Inaction by Congress means that the vaccines produced by American ingenuity won’t reach people who desperately need them, risking additional variants as well as backsliding progress across global health, development, and humanitarian initiatives.
Yesterday’s decision comes on the heels of an agreement on an international affairs budget that falls far short of the need. The world is experiencing tremendous suffering and displacement, whether in emergency humanitarian settings like Afghanistan and Ukraine, or in communities facing acute food insecurity or gender inequality. Now is not the time for incremental increases to the status quo; now is the time for catalytic change. The U.S. cannot address these issues on its own, but it cannot be done without our leadership.
Now is the time for this investment – we cannot wait. Stripping $5 billion for global COVID-19 response was a foolish mistake. We call on Congress to ensure that this funding is passed immediately.”