Biden's Spending Bill: $550B in Climate Funding, $3B for Pandemic Preparedness (Jon Anders Wiken/Dreamstime.com)
By Solange Reyner | Thursday, 04 November 2021 06:50 PM
President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act includes $550 billion in climate initiative funding and $3 billion in pandemic preparedness despite COVID's damaging effect to the U.S. economy over the last two years, reports Fox News.
The bill includes $1.4 billion for "supporting renovation, expansion, and modernization of State and local public health laboratory infrastructure" and $1.3 billion in new funding to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.
"The Build Back Better framework will set the U.S. on course to meet our climate targets, create millions of good-paying jobs and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out," Biden said last week.
More Americans have died from COVID-19 than the influenza pandemic of 1918 despite medical advancements. According to the Global Health Security Index, the U.S. ranked first among nations in pandemic preparedness in 2019 but has among the highest death rates in the industrialized world.
Hospitals in America have been overwhelmed because of COVID-19 and the U.S.' percentage of fully vaccinated individuals ranks 51st in the world at 67 percent despite the country being first to develop vaccines.
Biden has called for a new council of national leaders and a new international fund, both focused on infectious threats. On Sept. 3, the White House announced a new strategy to prepare for future pandemics — the plan would cost the U.S. $65 billion over the next seven to 10 years and include new vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tests.
But the plan has been criticized by health experts.
"It's underwhelming," Mike Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, told The Atlantic. "That $65 billion should have been a down payment, not the entire program. It's a rounding error for our federal budget, and yet our entire existence going forward depends on this."