We know for certain there will be another pandemic. And shame on us if we haven’t been better prepared for the next one after learning such hard lessons in this one. — Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader
We know for certain there will be another pandemic. And shame on us if we haven’t been better prepared for the next one after learning such hard lessons in this one. — Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader
White House joins push to beef up pandemic prevention funding amid worries Congress will shortchange the effort
The fight to prevent the next pandemic is underway on Capitol Hill even as the coronavirus continues to ravage the nation, with the Biden administration joining a quiet but consequential battle to secure tens of billions of dollars in funding aimed at readying vaccines, tests, treatments and surveillance for future global health threats.

While the amount of funding in play pales next to the overall scale of the planned $3.5 trillion economic package that Democrats hope to push through Congress in the coming week, advocates are arguing that the stakes are high: Without at least $30 billion of federal investment, they say, the nation could be left vulnerable to a devastating repeat of the covid crisis, or worse.

But a budget blueprint adopted by Congress last month envisions delivering only a fraction of that total — less than $10 billion — which some are warning would squander an important opportunity while Washington and the world are focused on the threat posed by pandemics.

The White House in recent days has circulated a memo to key congressional leaders arguing for the pending bill to provide at least $15 billion in pandemic prevention funding — dollars that might have to be diverted from other administration priorities. Even that amount, the memo says, would only provide a “jump-start” to an estimated $65 billion effort needed in the coming decade to prepare vaccines, therapies and tests that can be quickly scaled to blunt emerging disease threats.

Among those pushing for even more is Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, whose office was targeted in a 2001 anthrax terrorist attack and later joined the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, which created a road map for federal pandemic prevention investments.

In an interview, Daschle said he was “fearful” that lawmakers would soon move past the covid crisis without taking the necessary steps to prepare for the next global threat.

“Right after the anthrax attack, everyone’s attention was focused on, how do we better prepare ourselves? And we made a commitment then that we somehow have now forgotten,” he said. “We know for certain there will be another pandemic. And shame on us if we haven’t been better prepared for the next one after learning such hard lessons in this one.”

... Gabriel Bankman-Fried — executive director of Guarding Against Pandemics, a nonprofit that has pushed for significant new funding — said it would be a mistake to treat the pandemic preparedness funding as just another minor line item in the sprawling bill that can be bargained down and returned to later.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/reconciliation-pandemic-funding/2021/09/02/327a1272-0bf8-11ec-aea1-42a8138f132a_story.html