House Democrats propose multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief package

House Democrats proposed a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief bill that would boost investments in public health, vaccines, testing and health care services for the poor.

The proposal from the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over health care, largely mirrors portions of the framework for a COVID-19 relief package and other proposals released by President Biden, with more funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and expansion of Medicaid to more groups of people.

“As new variants of the virus emerge, it is vital that Congress act quickly to provide relief to the American people and the resources and support needed to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.).

The bill includes: 

  • Incentives for states to expand Medicaid to more groups of people, including postpartum women, prisoners 30 days before release and more low-income adults.
  • $8.5 billion for the CDC for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, promotion, administration and monitoring, including $1 billion for education campaigns that dispel concerns about the vaccine.
  • $5.2 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to support the research, development, manufacturing and purchasing of vaccines, treatments and other medical products needed for the COVID response.
  • $46 billion for HHS to implement a national testing and contact tracing strategy and support those efforts at state and local levels.
  • Billions of dollars to support the public health workforce, community health centers, and grant programs responding to substance abuse prevention, treatment and mental health issues.