In Brief: US COVID-19 bill includes over $11B for global pandemic relief

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the White House after the House of Representatives passed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in Washington. Photo by: Joshua Roberts / REUTERS

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday that includes more than $11 billion in funding for the global pandemic response.

The bill, which narrowly passed, includes $800 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Food for Peace program, $750 million for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention global funding, and about $10 billion in international affairs funding, which could support bilateral global health accounts, humanitarian aid, economic assistance, and possibly multilateral funding. It is unclear at this time exactly how all the funds in the broader international affairs account will be allocated.

Trump pushes foreign aid cuts as Biden pledges $11B

Administration officials admitted that Trump's parting shot at U.S. foreign assistance — a rescission package targeting roughly $17 billion in international spending — could be easily reversed.

Why it matters: This is the largest amount of funding for the global response included in any of the COVID-19 relief bills by the U.S. Congress since the start of the pandemic. While it would bring the amount of U.S. funding for the global response to 0.4% of all approved COVID-19 emergency funding, it falls short of the $20 billion advocates have been pushing for.

What’s next: The Senate will now consider the bill, and changes to some of the domestic policies and funding are expected. Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate and could be under pressure to make concessions to pass the bill, but advocates hope the global funding will remain. Democrats are aiming to pass the bill by mid-March.

About the author

  • Adva Saldinger

    Adva Saldinger is a Senior Reporter at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.