03.05.20

Peters Helps Senate Pass Coronavirus Funding for Michigan, Convenes Hearing on Federal Response

Peters Secured $14.5 Million in Funding for Michigan Coronavirus Response Efforts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, helped the Senate pass a bipartisan funding bill to address Coronavirus—including over $14.5 million in resources for Michigan—and convened a committee hearing on the response to outbreak.

The funding that passed today – which was welcomed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer – includes $14.5 million for Michigan and priorities raised directly to Peters by Michigan officials, including personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and vaccines and reimbursing state and local governments for detection and prevention efforts. Peters pushed for these priorities after convening a call with public health officials and hospitals from across Michigan on preventing the spread of Coronavirus within the state. This morning’s hearing in the Homeland Security Committee assessed the response to the Coronavirus outbreak and ongoing efforts to contain the virus by federal health and homeland security officials.

“The Coronavirus is a threat we must be prepared to address, and that’s why I fought to secure needed federal resources for Michigan,” said Senator Peters. “This is a good first step, and as we move forward I will press the Administration to ensure that the federal response to this outbreak is well-coordinated and effective and that Michigan communities and health officials have sufficient resources.”

The $8.3 billion supplemental funding package supports a number of efforts, including:

  • $14.5 million for Michigan for public health response efforts;
  • $350 million for “hot spots” funding which Michigan municipalities can apply for in the event of an outbreak;
  • $500 million for masks, protective equipment and other medical supplies to allow the federal government to distribute to state and local governments and hospitals;      
  • $950 million to reimburse for activities state and local governments have already undertaken, including: Coronavirus monitoring; laboratory testing to detect positive cases; contact tracing to identify additional positive cases; infection control at the local level to prevent additional cases; mitigation in areas with person-to-person transmission to prevent additional cases; and other public health preparedness and response activities. Hospitals and other providers can enter into cooperative agreements with states to access this money;
  • $100 million for Community Health Centers;
  • Funding to develop a Coronavirus vaccine;
  • Requiring consideration of supply chain security and identification of U.S.-based manufacturing facilities for key supplies;
  • Funding for the CDC Infectious Disease Rapid Response Fund, which helps send out CDC personnel and resources to local hot spots; and
  • Training for local responders and surge bed capacity in hot spots.

Peters has pressed for a strong federal response to the Coronavirus outbreak. This week, Peters met with Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to press for a strong interagency response to the crisis.

He also hand-delivered a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging the Trump Administration to launch a centralized federal website – “Coronavirus.gov” – to provide trusted information to the American people about the Coronavirus outbreak. He spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health to discuss development of a vaccine and preventing spread of Coronavirus. Peters also joined Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) in requesting detailed information about the Trump Administration’s strategy for responding to the emerging outbreak and called on the Administration to fully fund pandemic preparedness and response efforts in the 2021 budget. He also questioned the Trump Administration’s decision to allow patients infected with the Coronavirus to return to the U.S. on a plane with healthy passengers – possibly risking exposure to the virus. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Peters and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) expressed their concerns that the Administration disregarded the advice of the public health and national security experts, and could have risked a broader community outbreak within the U.S. In addition, Peters joined Johnson in pressing the Administration for information on the security of the nation’s medical supply chain, which could lead to shortages of critical drugs and medical equipment due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Peters has been briefed at the White House on the Administration’s ongoing efforts to contain the outbreak, and he convened a roundtable discussion with public health and security leaders to examine the federal government’s actions to limit the spread of the deadly virus. Peters also joined his colleagues in calling on the Administration to appoint a global health security expert to the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) to coordinate the Administration’s Coronavirus response efforts. The NSC has been without a health expert for almost two years.

###