US congressional efforts to pass a supplemental COVID-19 relief bill, which potentially includes funding for the global pandemic response, have stalled. The House is now in recess until mid-September and reaching a compromise with the Senate appears increasingly unlikely. In addition, the fiscal year (FY) ends at the end of September at which time the US government faces the possibility of a shutdown. This leaves the real possibility that there will be no additional funding for the global pandemic response until FY2021 at the earliest.
As it now stands, the House supplemental COVID-19 response was entirely domestic and the Senate bill contained US$4.0 billion for international measures, a number that disappointed many stakeholders. The House FY2021 funding bill for US foreign assistance does contain an additional US$10.0 billion for global health pandemic relief, but the Senate has still not acted on its appropriation so it appears likely that there will be a continuing resolution in place until after the November election.
So far, Congress has only approved US$2.3 billion for the global response, an amount that development experts say is woefully inadequate.