Biden proposes $81.7 billion in spending to prepare for future pandemics
President Biden’s budget proposal released Monday calls for $81.7 billion over five years to prepare for future pandemics, in what would be a major investment in boosting the country’s readiness for future threats.
“While combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the United States must catalyze advances in science, technology, and core capabilities to prepare the Nation for the next biological threat and strengthen U.S. and global health security,” the budget states.
However, the president’s budget is only a proposal, and any new funding for pandemic preparedness would require congressional approval.
That has proven to be a challenge, even for money to meet immediate needs for COVID-19, leaving the path for funding for future pandemics decidedly rocky, despite health experts saying it is badly needed.
About $15 billion in funding for vaccines, tests and treatments was stripped out of the government funding bill earlier this month and is stalled amid disputes about how to pay for it, with lawmakers seeking new ways to offset the funds.
The president’s budget calls for $40 billion for the development and manufacturing of vaccines, treatments and tests aimed at future threats.
Another $28 billion would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for surveillance, lab capacity and the public health workforce.
The National Institutes of Health would get $12.1 billion for research on vaccines and other measures, while the Food and Drug Administration would get $1.6 billion for its labs and information technology.
Previously, the Biden administration put forward a plan in the fall for $65 billion for pandemic preparedness over seven to 10 years, but Congress has not acted on that proposal.
A bipartisan pandemic preparedness measure moving through the Senate does not include major new funding.
The budget also calls for $5 billion for the newly-established Advanced Research Projects for Health (ARPA-H) agency focused on medical research in areas like cancer, which has been a priority for Biden.
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