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In Coronavirus Supplemental Budget Package, Pingree Successfully Restores $37M in LIHEAP Funds Stolen by Trump Admin, Secures $950M to Support State & Local Health Agencies

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) released the following statement about H.R. 6074, a bicameral, bipartisan emergency supplemental appropriations bill to address the coronavirus outbreak:

“Although Maine does not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus, we must be prepared to respond to this growing public health problem. This bipartisan funding bill demonstrates that both Democrats and Republicans agree that we need a fully-funded, coordinated government response to confront the COVID-19 epidemic.”

“The Trump administration’s budget request was insufficient to deal with the coronavirus and its thieving of funds from low-income heating assistance was an unconscionable attempt to make up for their poor planning for an emergency like this. We cannot solve one public health crisis by creating another. I’m proud to have worked with my House Appropriations Committee colleagues to advance a bipartisan coronavirus funding package that fully addresses the scale of this public health crisis and backfills the $37 million stolen from LIHEAP by the Trump administration.”

“This bill will also guard against price gouging of vaccines and treatments developed with taxpayer dollars. It will also invest $2.2 billion toward public health efforts, including $950 million toward state and local public health agencies. Additionally, this budget agreement will allow Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live, which is incredibly important for a rural state like Maine.”

The emergency supplemental provides $8.3 billion in entirely new funding to keep Americans safe during the coronavirus outbreak, including:

  • More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • $300 million for the government to purchase these products at a fair and reasonable price;
  • $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 medical supplies, health care preparedness, Community Health Centers, and medical surge capacity; and
  • $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad, which helps keep Americans safe here at home.
  • Low-interest loans to affected small businesses to cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency.

Finally, several other important provisions have been included that will:

  • Allow Medicare beneficiaries to access telemedicine services for coronavirus treatment;
  • Require the Trump administration to reimburse health accounts that were previously raided to pay for the coronavirus response; and
  • Ensure state and local governments are reimbursed for costs incurred while assisting the federal response.

Last week, in a letter to congressional appropriators, Congresswoman Pingree, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), and Congressman Peter Welch (VT-AL) blasted President Trump’s proposal to remove critical funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to finance his administration’s response to the coronavirus. 


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