The International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 is a new bill in the Senate, currently at the committee’s level. The Act purposes of making America a global leader in leading the world to prepare for and manage pandemics ease. Factors that will promote the bill’s passage into law include two-party support, President Biden’s influence, and the desire to strengthen U.S. international influence. The Senate’s strict timelines, and funding challenges, however, act as the main stumbling blocks to the bill’s implementation before the November elections.
The International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 is a June (2021) bill currently under deliberations in the U.S. Senate. The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. James Risch and Sen. Robert Menendez. The former legislator is a chief Republican from Idaho, serving in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and also serves as the current bill’s committee’s chairperson. Sen. Robert Menendez, on the other hand, is a Democrat legislator from New Jersey. Sen. Menendez, together with Sen. Risch, started working on the bill last year. The bill now has two readings in the senate-house and is currently at the committee stage, retained on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders; Calendar number 112. Having sponsorship from the two parties makes the bill bipartisan. The aspect exposes the Act to significant factors that increase its success chances, for example, the absence of identified opposers. As such, the International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 stands a higher possibility of passing in the two legislating houses and receiving the President’s support based on the following work.
Summary of the Bill
The International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 exists as a response to the current unbearable COVID-19 impact around the world. The (Senate) bill aims at providing a wide set of strategies concerning the manner in which the U.S. should react to the current pandemic (COVID-19). It also endeavors to inform America’s ability to take an active role in leading the world towards the realization of effective international pandemics’ vigilance and retort efforts. As per the Senate bill, America needs to take the lead and apply an inclusive and synchronized reaction to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. To realize such, the legislation outlines several steps for the country to implement.
One of such actions required by the bill’s passage includes providing backing to the United Nations Security Council’s resolve that affirms epidemics a danger to state harmony and safety. The Act also requires the U.S. to boost its determinations to transform the World Health Organization. Another primary requirement by the bill concerns the need to initiate strategic actions meant to promote the realization of the global COVID-19 vaccination objective. As such, the bill will see Americans take part in promoting the plan of immunizing at least sixty percent of the residents of all nations within the first half of 2022.
Other critical issues addressed by the bill include America’s government restructuring to promote pandemic preparedness and the establishment of a global fund to finance health security around the world. As per the first issue, the Senate bill proposes the development of a multi-agency system to help the U.S. administration reach the world without much pressure. Examples of the agencies proposed by the bill to aid on the government restructuring include the state department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development). Further changes meant to bring about the anticipated governance transformation include establishing a new leadership at the State Department’s National Security Council (NSC) (“Policy Updates,” 2021). The bill, thus, grants NSC the power to create a new committee that handles global health and pandemics as biological threats to humanity. The (new) committee goes by the name Global Health Security and Pandemic and Biological (GHSPB) Committee.
The GHSPBC will further operate under the leadership of a distinctive consultant for global health security and involve other cabinet members and other pertinent agencies’ representatives. The (GHSPB) commission will also offer strategic leadership and cultivate a policy charter for worldwide health safety comprising pandemic alertness and reaction, and ascertaining policy harmonization amongst agencies. Moreover, the (GHSPB) board will create a new spot at the State Department, for U.S. universal activities’ special representative to progress worldwide health safety and mediation overseas. The representative’s position will be confirmed by the Senate, which will also exhibit the power to allocate and transfer finances to the appropriate agencies and departments worldwide. The International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 correspondingly back to the creation of the Fund for Global Health Security and Pandemic Prevention and Preparedness Agency. The new agency will help in closing the acute breaches in universal health safety and capacity building in partner states in fostering health security globally, pandemic readiness and response, and infectious disease control.
Factors Promoting the Bill’s Passage
America is currently under a new president belonging to the Democratic Party. President Biden’s tenure follows Trump’s political era characterized by drama, manufactured truths, and divisions in various areas. The incoming of the new President is marked with significant calmness in the nation. Formerly conflicting groups now seem to work together, as shown by the many bipartisan bills presented in the U.S. parliaments. The present condition, thus, marks an opportune time for sensitive bills to become laws. The pandemic also seems to remind people about the need to embrace brotherhood to control globalization’s challenges. Therefore, several aspects concerning the current political situation in the U.S. support the current bill’s passage. Such factors are as below.
The International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 is sponsored by two senators, one from each of the primary political parties in the U.S. Sen. James Risch belongs to the Republican Party, while Sen. Robert Menendez is a Democrat. The two legislators are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with the Democrat serving as the committee leader, whereas the Republican is a chief committee member. A bill passes several stages before becoming a law in the U.S. The prevailing political climate in the nation and the houses affects the passage of various bills and the time they take to become laws. As such, bills coming from a specific political divide seem to face opposition from the other side.
A bill by a Democrat, for example, gets backing by the other Democrats in the house, while a majority of all of the Republicans oppose or derail the bill. Being a bipartisan bill gives the International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act (of 2021) several benefits. The Senate bill, for example, does not have active opposers in the Senate. Moreover, a large number of senators from both political parties accept the various elements suggested by the bill. The situation, thus, implies that the bill will pass without many constraints. However, it is hard for the legislation to be approved ahead of the November elections owing to the strict schedule that the senate exhibits.
President Biden’s Influence
Many Americans view President Biden as an imperturbable transformational leader. Serving as America’s Vice President several times makes many Americans’ trust towards the President high. The trust further reduces attacks and unnecessary tension in the house, creating ample time for bills like the present one to receive sober discussions and informed decision-making processes. President Biden exhibits the desire to have all the policies touching on critical issues whose delay affects Americans for a while to become laws under his tenure. The President wants to use this aspect to set a new record, probably for re-election purposes. The facet also explains the prevailing rapport existing in the houses. The current administration believes that without harmony in the houses, the dream will be hard to live. Such, plus the sensitivity related to the prevailing COVID-19 issue, creates the right environment for the Senate’s legislation to be approved. The argument that American senators mainly purpose to enact laws that promote their re-election capabilities also promotes the current bill conversion into legislation by the houses.
Strengthening of U.S. International Influence
The prevailing social and political environments in the U.S. also make the time ripe for the International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 to become a law. America and Americans understand the adverse effects caused by Trump’s tenure internationally. The desire to protect America from the rest of the world made Trump and his Republican team of legislators enact numerous laws that secluded America from the world. The issue exposed the U.S. to several international relations issues, like the trade wars with China. Many global partners benefiting from the U.S. also lost their trust due to the past regime.
America, however, needs all the lost players to continue being a superpower. Losing the international influence gives the likes of China the opportunity to spread its influence around the world even more. President Trump and the American people cannot allow such to happen. That is why the country presently puts significant efforts to regain international influence, particularly through positive efforts, like leading the war against COVID-19 internationally. Realizing such success also stands to justify President Biden’s Act of calling home troops from the Middle East, where military force served as the nation’s source of international influence. Based on such facts thus, the bill stands to pass, but not before the November elections.
Senate’s Strict Timelines
However, several aspects stand to make the adoption of the International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 into a law a harder hurdle to accomplish. To begin with, the Senate’s strict timelines affect the house’s operations significantly. The presentation of the new bill in June and its deliberations until July leaves the Senate with substantially limited time to complete the business on the bill within the remaining time. A bill undergoes several processes before becoming a law. There are amendments that can take forever, thus, challenging the success of the bill before the November elections. The Senate had other issues to discuss before the Vaccine Diplomacy bill further complicated the issue. It is appropriate that senators give the bill the chance to undergo the due process to become meaningful and cause the intended impact. The time issue, thus, serves as a real stumbling block to the bill’s adoption within the remaining short duration before the forthcoming elections in November.
The financing issue also poses a major challenge to the Vaccination Diplomacy bill for 2021. According to the Act, America will channel about three billion dollars towards the global war and preparedness against pandemics every five years. The statement is reasonable and considers the nation’s current economic situation significantly. However, the issue presents the whole bill as a real jock to the many concerned parties within and without the U.S. Estimations by the G-20 global pandemic management, and the financing needs indicates that the world will require at least fifteen billion dollars a year to fund pandemic vigilance and response (“American Society,” 2021). The estimations imply that nations like the U.S. will require to give about two billion a year for the strategy to work. The numbers, therefore, contradict substantially, with the bill mainly quoting unrealistic figures to avoid the issue of financing. That is because realizing additional funds implies charging more taxes from the citizens and businesses, which many senators will never want because of the public’s hurtful impact on their elections. It is vital that one remains silent on the matter.
American society of tropical medicine and hygiene. (2021). Washington, DC Update.
Library of Congress. (2021). S.2297 – International pandemic preparedness and COVID-19 response Act of 2021. Congress.gov.
Policy updates. (2021). Donor Tracker.