U.S. PIRG statement on COVID-19 relief legislation

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

More money needed for tools to control the virus


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are poised to pass legislation Monday that, if signed into law, would provide some financial relief to Americans and small businesses struggling during the pandemic, but would fail to adequately fund key virus-fighting tools. U.S. PIRG is urging Congress to pass additional legislation to pay for increased testing to control the virus. 

Health experts say we need to invest at least $75 billion directly into producing more tests and bolstering testing infrastructure. The current legislation seems to fall far short of that target. 

In response, Matthew Wellington, U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns director, released the following statement:

“Federal legislators waited too long and have done too little to combat the coronavirus. Short-term financial relief is necessary for millions of Americans, but without robust investment in the tools that will control this virus, such as widespread testing, Congress is just kicking the can down the road.

While vaccinations are underway, most Americans are still months away from getting their shots. Robust testing is one of the best ways to protect everyone in the interim. 

“Without additional legislation to help pay to combat COVID-19, millions more people will get sick, tens of thousands more will die unnecessarily, and America’s economy will continue to flounder in the coming weeks.”