Sens. Menendez, Booker call on HHS to release emergency funding for coronavirus

Sens. Menendez, Booker call on HHS to release emergency funding for coronavirus

By:  Dave Kovaleski
Homeland Preparedness News


U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to unlock emergency funds allocated for state and local governments to deal with the coronavirus. 

The emergency funding was allocated in an $8.5 billion supplemental spending package that Congress passed last week. That package earmarked $950 million for states, localities, territories, and tribal entities. Of that total, $475 million must be distributed within 30 days. The New jersey senators urge the HHS to release that funding as soon as possible to deal with the coronavirus.

“Nationally, 14 people have died of the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, and there are over 240 cases of COVID-19 throughout the country. This includes in New Jersey, which reported its first presumptive-positive case of novel coronavirus on March 4th and now has three presumptive-positive cases.[1] The potential impact of the novel coronavirus will be far reaching. Beyond the public health concerns, the outbreak has the potential to shutter businesses, disrupt transportation, and cause food shortages as well as other significant local and national impacts,” they wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. 

State and local health departments are on the front lines and need funding provided to address the threats in their area, the Senators said.

“Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that states, localities, territories, and tribal entities have the resources they need to prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus,” they wrote.