Hudson reintroduces amendment to boost vaccines, prioritize teachers
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08) has introduced an amendment to provide an additional $2 billion for vaccines in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Hudson’s amendment would also dedicate $1 billion of the funding to make vaccines available to teachers to help schools reopen as soon as possible.
Hudson first introduced this amendment in the Energy and Commerce Committee during a markup of the bill on Feb. 11. While Democrats on the committee rejected the amendment at that time, Hudson again introduced the amendment before the Rules Committee, which provides another opportunity to get the measure included in the final bill.
“I am dedicated to addressing real needs from this COVID-19 pandemic, including getting vaccines to communities that need them and reopening our schools,” said Hudson. “Unfortunately, the current ‘COVID relief’ bill includes $1 trillion in unrelated items while only dedicating 1% of funding to vaccines and 9% of overall funding to combating the virus. Students, parents and teachers deserve better, which is why I have introduced this amendment to boost vaccine deployment and prioritize our schools.”
Currently, just roughly 1% of the $1.9 trillion legislation that Democrats have labeled a “COVID-19 relief bill” goes toward vaccines. Overall, just 9% of the bill is for combating the virus. For schools, two-thirds of included funding would not be spent until 2023 or later, failing to address the immediate need to support reopening. Hudson has been critical of the legislation for these reasons. However, if accepted, his amendment would ensure the bill not only helps provide more vaccines to communities and people that need them, but also prioritizes teachers.
North Carolina teachers became eligible to begin receiving their vaccine starting Wednesday. The Cabarrus Health Alliance reports teachers are signed up to receive their first doses Thursday and Saturday.