Congress Passes COVID-19 Stimulus Package and ENA-backed Appropriations Bill
December 22, 2020 • Appropriations COVID-19 Government Relations
Congress on Monday approved a COVID-19 stimulus package and Fiscal Year 2021 omnibus appropriations bill. Importantly, the legislation will provide additional funding for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Other provisions will improve testing and tracing capabilities, enhance mental health programs, continue research on coronavirus and support other health care programs backed by ENA.
“Approving this legislation is critical in the country’s continued battle against COVID-19,” said ENA President Mike Hastings, MSN, RN, CEN. “As we face increasing cases across the United States, funding that ensures the efficient and expedited distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines is much-needed. ENA is encouraging both emergency nurses and the public to get vaccinated and the extra resources provided in this bill will help make this possible.”
The $900 billion COVID-19 Stimulus package includes $69 billion in aid for critical health care needs including:
Vaccine Development and Distribution
$9 billion to the CDC and states for vaccine distribution as well as a contingency or discretionary fund for additional assistance to targeted states. $20 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for the manufacturing and purchase of vaccines and therapeutics, and $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile.
Testing and Contact Tracing
$22 billion, which will be sent directly to states, for testing, contact tracing and COVID-19 mitigation programs.
Mental Health and Research Funding
$4.25 million in mental health funding and more than $1 billion for NIH research on COVID-19.
In addition, the 2021 omnibus appropriations package would fund the federal government in fiscal year 2021 and includes critical support for ENA priorities including the Emergency Medical Services for Children program, poison control centers and nursing workforce development programs.