Merkley, Wyden, Colleagues Introduce Resolution to Encourage U.S. Engagement in Global Effort to Find Coronavirus Vaccine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with 38 of their colleagues, are introducing a resolution that encourages U.S. engagement with the international community on the coronavirus response given the Trump administration’s failure to participate in global summits on vaccines and therapeutics.

The resolution emphasizes that only with concerted global collaboration and coordination can the coronavirus pandemic be addressed, and that the U.S. has failed so far to participate in a number of key global collaborative efforts on this issue.

“The coronavirus crisis knows no borders, and we’re not going to solve this it by abandoning our partnerships around the world,” said Merkley, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We need to lead a bold global response and recovery strategy, and part of that leadership means affirming our commitment to a worldwide coordinated effort to develop a vaccine. Nobody in America can afford for our government to be slowing down the development and distribution of a vaccine that could end this pandemic and let us get back to normal.”

“A global pandemic demands global coordination based in the best science working together toward developing a vaccine as soon as possible to save lives,” Wyden said. “The Trump administration cannot be allowed to abandon our country’s leadership role in the all-hands-on-deck response so urgently needed on research and more to end this public health crisis as soon as humanly possible in the United States and worldwide.”

The resolution comes after a series of shortsighted missteps by the Trump administration on the international stage that will put more lives at risk during the pandemic and undermine America’s long-term ability to advance its interests internationally, including President Trump’s steps to cut U.S. funding for the World Health Organization (WHO).

Last week, Senator Merkley led a group of 22 lawmakers—including Senator Wyden—in pressing the administration to provide a detailed briefing to Congress regarding their strategy to produce and distribute a coronavirus vaccine as soon as one is available. Experts have raised concerns that in addition to the challenges of boosting production capacity to manufacture vaccines, a comprehensive plan to distribute the vaccine will be critical to avoiding supply chain bottlenecks, such as those that have plagued the distribution of personal protective equipment and coronavirus testing, that could make the vaccines inaccessible to countless Americans.

Senators Merkley and Wyden were joined in introducing the resolution by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Tom Carper (D-DE).

A copy of today’s Senate resolution is available here.