Put On Your Own Mask Before Helping Others?

Many foreign policy leaders are concerned about the lack of a strong U.S. global response to the pandemic and feel the U.S. has been “missing in action” on the world stage.

Congress held two hearings this week (including before the House Intelligence Committee) on the ramifications of COVID in developing countries already struggling with poverty, food insecurity, and other infectious diseases — and what the U.S. should be doing about it.

So far Congress has provided about $2.5 billion in emergency aid, a fraction of what experts generally agree is needed. Much of that aid has not yet been distributed.

The Trump Administration’s recent defunding of the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised alarms. And the failure of the House to include additional international response money in their latest emergency response bill (the HEROES Act) last month further troubled observers.

Bipartisan efforts are underway to get the Senate to include funding in their counter to the HEROES Act, with Senators such as Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) helping rally support.

As public health experts warn Africa could become the next epicenter of the pandemic, the financial and national security imperative for more aggressively fighting pandemics abroad is becoming clearer to the American public.