May 20, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined 39 of his colleagues in introducing a resolution that encourages U.S. engagement with the international community on the coronavirus response. To date, the Administration has failed to participate in global summits on vaccines and therapeutics. The King-backed resolution is part of Senator King’s continued push to assert U.S. leadership in global health, including collaborating and coordinating with that only with concerted global collaboration and coordination can the COVID-19 pandemic be addressed, and that the U.S. has failed so far to participate in a number of key global collaborative efforts on this issue.
“Winston Churchill once noted that the only thing worse than fighting with allies was fighting without allies. We’re in the middle of the global health fight of our lifetimes and we need global cooperation to bring this virus under control,” said Senator King. “We need not face this crisis alone – we can and must work with the international community to maximize our knowledge of this virus and speed up our efforts to find a vaccine. We need to set aside the saber-rattling or finger-pointing – now is the time to work together, toward a unified goal, to save the lives of our people.”
Senator King has been a champion of pushing to strengthen America’s public health in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In November – before the emergence of coronavirus – Senator King questioned USAID’s decision to shutter the PREDICT program that tracks emerging potential pandemics. Senators King and Elizabeth Warren followed up on this request in January, after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the United States. Though USAID, after the Senators’ questioning, decided to extend PREDICT’s funding for six more months through September 2020, it is unclear how the agency will fund Global Health Security efforts moving forward.
Senator King has introduced legislation to permanently create a Presidentially-appointed position to manage outbreak response efforts, develop a global health security strategy, advance the goals of the 2014 Global Health Security Agenda, and authorize annual funding towards that goal. Though a relevant position has existed through executive order since 2016, that position has been vacant for nearly two years – weakening the nation’s preparedness. He is also an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Public Health Emergency Response and Accountability Act, which would create a permanent reserve fund to enable quick and effective responses to future public health emergencies