Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Congress Must Include Emergency Funding for Mass Testing in Small Business Package
Press Statement

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Senate Democratic leadership unveiled a plan that would provide $30 billion in emergency funding to scale up the nation’s COVID-19 testing capacity and put in place the infrastructure needed to administer tests all over the country. This proposal follows the release of CAP’s “National and State Plan To End the Coronavirus Crisis.” Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on the new proposal:

President Donald Trump promised that there would be 27 million test kits by the end of March—and that “anybody that wants a test can get a test.” Yet, to date, fewer than 3.3 million people in the United States have been tested for COVID-19. After spending crucial months downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, the Trump administration is repeating the same mistake in its sluggish response to establishing a mass testing program in America—which public health experts, economists, and the nation’s leading CEOs agree is a prerequisite for reopening the country.

Failing to manage this public health crisis will only result in new waves of infection and further cripple our economy, which is why we recommend tripling our current testing capacity to ensure that we are able to test at least 500,000 people a day. This will require a substantial investment in testing supplies, contact tracing, staffing, logistics, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

While Congress is debating shoring up the Paycheck Protection Program, increasing funding for America’s hospitals, and providing critical state aid, leaders should heed the advice of public health experts and insist that emergency funding to establish mass testing is included in this next package. For the safety of our communities and the health of our economy, there is no time to waste.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at cseeberger@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6292.

To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.