Shaheen, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrats Unveil Comprehensive COVID-19 International Response and Recovery Act

May 08, 2020

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations (SFRC) and Armed Services Committees, joined SFRC lead Democrat Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and a group of Senators to introduce comprehensive legislation to provide an additional $9 billion in funding to help support international efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 International Response and Recovery Act would compel the Trump administration to constructively engage with other countries, international organizations and global coalitions to stop the spread of COVID-19, which will continue to exacerbate the United States’ public health and economic crisis without a coordinated global response. 

“Our country is safer and better equipped to combat this virus if we work with our international partners to lead a coordinated, global response to this pandemic,” said Senator Shaheen. “The international community must address COVID-19 in countries where weak health systems aren’t able to respond to the full scope of this crisis, which means more loss of life and a failure to prevent further spread of this virus. This legislation helps strengthen the global health system, supports American citizens abroad and restores American global leadership at a time of deep crisis. I’ll continue to call for a U.S.-led global response to COVID-19 as Congress responds to this pandemic.” 

The bill proposes a series of wide-ranging reforms, including:

  • The immediate restoration of U.S. funding to the World Health Organization, and the payment of U.S. arrears to international organizations and institutions critical to the global fight against COVID-19;
  • U.S. participation in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is working to accelerate the discovery of a vaccine for COVID-19; 
  • Increased humanitarian assistance; and
  • The re-establishment of a position within the National Security Council with responsibility for global health security emergencies.

A copy of the COVID-19 International Response and Recovery Act (CIRRA) can be found here. Click here for a section-by-section summary. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).