The Biden administration will forcefully urge Congress to pass additional Covid-19 funding during Thursday’s virtual Global Covid-19 Summit, according to two senior administration officials.
The summit, the officials said, is aimed at “redoubling” efforts to control Covid-19 and preparing the world for future variants of the coronavirus or the next deadly pandemic.
Thursday’s summit, which is co-hosted by the White House along with Germany, Indonesia, Senegal and Belize, will call for countries to invest in the new Global Pandemic Preparedness and Health Security fund at the World Bank, and the United States will be announcing that its pledge will increase to $450 million, up from the initially promised amount of $250 million. The summit will also highlight an additional $3.1 billion in new funding commitments from countries around the world to combat Covid-19.
But as President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other Cabinet-level officials take part in Thursday summit, which is aimed at urging other wealthy countries to ramp up their coronavirus relief efforts in support of poorer countries, the Biden administration’s efforts to secure further funding from Congress to support coronavirus relief efforts will be front and center.
Administration officials on Thursday will issue a “loud call” to Congress to act and take “urgent action, not empty words,” one senior official said.
“If the US is to remain a leader – protecting Americans and the world from dangerous disease threats – we need Congress to act now to provide more funding for the Covid response,” the second official added.
In addition to the summit’s two overarching goals, there are three key priorities that will guide Thursday’s gathering: preventing complacency on Covid-19, preventing deaths from the pandemic, and preventing future variants and pandemics – with one official noting it is “not a matter of if, but when.”
This will be the second global Covid-19 summit the White House has hosted, following one in September.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh and White House Covid response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha will also take part in Thursday’s summit.