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Led by Rep. Ritchie Torres, 20 Members of Congress Urge Congressional Leadership to Fully Fund Pandemic Preparedness

August 11, 2021
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U.S. Congressman Ritchie Torres

15th Congressional District of New York

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 11, 2021

Led by Rep. Ritchie Torres, 20 Members of Congress Urge Congressional Leadership to Fully Fund Pandemic Preparedness

Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Ritchie Torres and 19 of his House and Senate colleagues released a letter to Congressional leadership advocating to fully fund President Biden’s request to include a minimum of $30 billion in the Congressional infrastructure package to prepare for potential future pandemics. The letter was co-led in the Senate by Senators Warren and Padilla. 

Their letter cites polling from Guarding Against Pandemics and Data for Progress showing that President Biden’s proposal to invest $30 billion toward pandemic preparedness has the support of71% of voters, including strong majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

“As members of Congress negotiate an infrastructure package, it is essential to fully fund President Biden’s request to allocate a minimum of $30 billion toward preparing for potential future pandemics. COVID-19 has killed over 600,000 Americans and cost this country $16 trillion, and experts say that the next pandemic could be right around the corner. Without this critical funding, if another pandemic hit us tomorrow, we could be as ill-prepared as we were for COVID-19.1 This investment will strengthen our health systems, protect our economy, and potentially save millions of lives,'' 20 Democratic lawmakers wrote in the letter to Congressional leadership.

“What will it take to get the United States Congress to treat pandemic preparedness with the urgency it requires?” said Rep. Torres. “There should be no need at all for a press conference that states the obvious and calls for pandemic preparedness to be fully funded in the reconciliation bill. The fact that Members of Congress are even considering defunding pandemic preparedness—in the midst of a pandemic—is dangerously short-sighted. We, in the United States Congress, have the wherewithal to prevent the next pandemic. What remains to be seen is whether we have the political will and wisdom. ”

“We at Guarding Against Pandemics are grateful that Congressman Torres has urged Leadership to fully fund President Biden's $30 billion plan to fight pandemics. $30 billion is necessary to support critical investments like faster detection of new viruses, more effective treatments, domestic supply chains for PPE, and faster development of new vaccines. Congressman Torres has seen first-hand how this pandemic decimated communities, particular communities of color. In championing this funding, we are fighting for the millions of Americans who cannot afford another pandemic. One was more than enough," said Gabe Bankman-Fried, Founder and Director of Guarding Against Pandemics. 

“The current pandemic illustrates the importance of this vital funding to prepare us for future pandemics. Not only will this funding protect American lives and our economy, it’s something that voters widely support, according to Data for Progress polling,” said Marcela Mulholland, Political Director at Data for Progress. “This isn’t just common sense — this is a policy that is overwhelmingly popular with voters. It’s time for Congress to listen.”

See the text of the letter here.

About Guarding Against Pandemics

Guarding Against Pandemics (GAP) advocates for public investments to prevent the next pandemic. COVID-19 has killed over 600,000 Americans andcost this country $16 trillion dollars, and experts say that the next pandemic could be right around the corner. GAP’s one and only goal is to ensure we are better prepared so this never happens again.

Follow GAP on Twitter@ASaferFuture or learn more at againstpandemics.org

About Data for Progress

Data for Progress is a progressive think tank and polling firm which arms movements with data-driven tools to fight for a more equitable future. DFP provides polling, data-based messaging, and policy generation for the progressive movement, and advises campaigns and candidates with the tools they need to win. DFP polling is regularly cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CBS News, and hundreds of other trusted news organizations.

Learn more at dataforprogress.org or follow DFP on Twitter at @dataprogress.

Rep. Torres Contact: sophie.pollock@mail.house.gov