The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-123; introduced as HR 6074, 116th Congress), provides funding to various federal government agencies to specifically respond to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) in domestic and international contexts.
The law allocates $7.767 billion of additional, emergency funding (i.e., not subject to discretionary caps), as described here, for specific programs and actions:
- Department of Health and Human Services:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $2.2 billion, available through September 30, 2022:
- To provide grants or cooperative agreements with state, local, and Tribal governments or health service providers to carry out surveillance, control, mitigation, and preparedness activities, including those that started as of January 20, 2020. (These activities must expend at least $950 million of the total, of which $475 million must be allocated by April 5, 2020);
- To support global disease detection and emergency response (at least $300 million of total);
- To supplement funds in the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund; this activity must expend at least $300 million of the total; and
- To provide grants to build or renovate non-federally owned healthcare facilities that could assist with state- and local-level response.
- Food and Drug Administration: $61 million, available until spent:
- To develop medical countermeasures and vaccines;
- To support advanced manufacturing of medical products; and
- To monitor medical product supply chains.
- National Institutes of Health: $836 million, available through September 30, 2024:
- Office of the Secretary: $3.4 billion, available through September 30, 2024:
- To supplement generally the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund;
- To develop and/or purchase vaccines, therapeutic drugs, diagnostic tests, and medical supplies, of which $300 million of the total would be additionally allocated as necessary;
- To enhance existing platforms for healthcare response;
- To provide grants to build or renovate non-federally owned healthcare facilities that could assist with state- and local-level response, or that could produce vaccines, therapeutic drugs, and diagnostic tests; and
- To support the Health Centers Program for activities designed to prevent or respond to the coronavirus.
- Department of State: $264 million, available through September 30, 2022:
- To maintain operations of embassies and consulates;
- To reimburse for evacuation expenses of embassy and consulate staff; and
- To provide for emergency preparedness of embassies and consulates.
- Small Business Administration: $20 million, available until spent:
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID): $1 million, available through September 30, 2022:
- To support coronavirus-related response activities conducted by this agency.
- Miscellaneous funds for bilateral economic assistance under the jurisdiction of USAID:
The law further allows the Department of Health and Human Services to easily appoint individuals deemed necessary to perform “critical work” relating to the coronavirus; similarly, the government is able to use the money allocated by this law to hire non-federal contractors for the purposes of addressing the coronavirus.
In addition to these new funding amounts, the law includes the “Telehealth Services During Certain Emergency Periods Act of 2020,” which waives certain permitting and approval processes for telehealth services provided under Medicare when those services are addressing the national coronavirus emergency. In so doing, this section authorizes $500 million to support additional telehealth services; this total combined with the $7.8 billion allocated above reaches the widely-reported $8.3 billion spending mark for this law. This section intends to make telehealth more accessible to Medicare recipients (i.e., some people over age 65) who may have the coronavirus.