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Senate Democrats Call for $30 Billion to Boost COVID-19 Testing

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Senate Democratic leaders released Wednesday a roadmap to boost testing for COVID-19 so that the United States can reopen its economy, asking for $30 billion in emergency funding.

“To allow people to return to work and reopen the economy before there is an effective vaccine, our public health, government, and business leaders need information about who has COVID-19, who needs to be isolated or quarantined, and who may be immune due to previous infection,” Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in releasing their nine-page COVID-19 response paper.

The senators argue that the Trump administration “has repeatedly failed to recognize the need for extensive testing to fight COVID-19. The current national surge in COVID-19 cases could and should have been prevented.”

To “adequately assess our country’s readiness to restart and get back on track, we need fast, free, and available testing in every community; expanded reporting; and a bolstered supply chain,” Schumer added.

Besides calling for Congress to designate $30 billion in new emergency funding to support COVID-19 testing, the senators said they “demand a clear, detailed plan to rapidly scale and optimize COVID-19 testing” in the U.S.

They called for:

  • A pipeline for the development and manufacturing of tests and testing supplies;
  • Specific plans to efficiently and comprehensively administer tests;
  • Using testing to inform policy decisions as well as protect the public health through a “robust” public health workforce and infrastructure.

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