U.S. Has Committed More Than $900M In Global Health, Humanitarian Aid But Recipients Restricted On Using Funding For PPE; Senate Aims To Provide Billions For International COVID-19 Response

Devex: ‘Enormous’ bipartisan support for global coronavirus funding, says U.S. senator
“The U.S. is ‘fundamentally misresourced’ when it comes to protecting against global threats, according to Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut and leading voice on the country’s foreign policy in the U.S. Congress. … That ‘fact pattern’ has led Murphy to join with advocates for stronger global health engagement, who are asking that $12 billion for an international response to COVID-19 be included in the next supplemental spending bill that lawmakers are currently negotiating. Last week, a group of Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would provide $9 billion for international coronavirus-related funding. The House of Representatives unveiled a spending proposal Tuesday that voiced support for international programs but made little progress toward the $12 billion mark. Murphy said he is optimistic that senators from both parties will prioritize funding for global response efforts when they eventually come to agreement on what will likely be another massive spending package…” (Igoe, 5/13).

NPR: The U.S. Is Giving Vast Sums Of Money To Fight COVID-19 Abroad. But There’s A Catch
“When it comes to fighting COVID-19 abroad, the U.S. has been the most generous nation in the world, committing $900 million to global health, humanitarian, and economic programs in 120 countries, according to the State Department. The money goes to international and local aid groups and health facilities in country. But there’s a catch. Aid recipients can’t use U.S. funds to buy personal protective equipment for health workers — masks and gloves, for example — without prior approval from the U.S. Agency for International Development. … The measure was put in place to ensure there would be enough PPE for the U.S., [a USAID] spokesperson told NPR. In the email response, the spokesperson noted: ‘We continue to remain sensitive to the needs of humanitarian beneficiaries around the world while balancing the urgency of the domestic requirements here in the United States’…” (Gharib, 5/13).

Science: House Democrats include research dollars in latest pandemic relief package
“By week’s end the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives hopes to approve another massive coronavirus relief package. For U.S. scientists, the good news is that the $3 trillion spending bill (H.R. 6800) unveiled last night contains billions of dollars in new research funding. The bad news is that the bill is only a marker for negotiations with Senate Republicans and the White House on what more the federal government should do to help the country deal with the devastating economic and health effects of the pandemic…” (Mervis, 5/13).