Dr. Ruiz Continues Leading on National Coronavirus Response

March 6, 2020
Press Release
Dr. Ruiz speaks with Vice President Pence, presides over House floor for vote on coronvarius response package Dr. Ruiz speaks with Vice President Pence, presides over House floor for vote on coronvarius response package

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) presided over the House floor before voting for an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental package to address the coronavirus. Just hours before, Dr. Ruiz spoke with Vice President Mike Pence during a briefing with other Members of Congress to discuss our national response to this urgent public health threat. 

“As an emergency physician trained in humanitarian disaster aid, I understand that to combat the spread of this disease, we must be prepared for the worst as we work for the best,” said Dr. Ruiz. “Today's emergency supplemental prioritizes the health and safety of the American people.”

The funding package included funding for state and local governments like Riverside County to be reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response. This is an issue Dr. Ruiz has been advocating for since Riverside County incurred nearly $1.5 million in costs associated with quarantining passengers on a flight from Wuhan, China.

 

Background

H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, appropriated $8.3 billion to fund an effective, coordinated, and comprehensive government-wide response. Among its other provisions, this bill allocates:

  • More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, $950 million of which is to support state & local health agencies;
  • Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
  • $435 million to support health systems overseas to prevent, prepare, and respond to the coronavirus;
  • $300 million to respond to humanitarian needs;
  • $61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions; and
  • Allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.

Additionally, H.R. 6074 includes strong provisions to implement an effective public health response. The bill:

  • Ensures that state and local governments are reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response;
  • Allows seniors to access telemedicine services for coronavirus treatment;
  • Requires that funds are only used to fight the coronavirus and other infectious diseases; and
  • Helps ensure that vaccines and treatments for coronavirus are affordable.

To date, costs to the county associated with the quarantine have neared $1.5 million. Under H.R. 6074, localities such as Riverside County would be fully reimbursed for their response efforts.

Dr. Ruiz was selected to preside over the vote as the House considered H.R. 6074 for his leadership on addressing this urgent public health threat. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 415 to 2.

You can read a summary of the appropriations package here and the full text here.