Durbin Continues To Push To Pass Resolution To Reaffirm U.S. Commitment To Global Effort To Find COVID-19 Vaccine

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today, during a speech on the Senate floor, asked for unanimous consent to pass a resolution that encourages U.S. engagement with the international community on the COVID-19 response given the Trump Administration’s failure to participate in global summits on plans to research, develop, and distribute vaccines and therapeutics.  The resolution, led by Durbin and supported by 39 of his Senate colleagues, noted the historic international effort to eradicate smallpox as an example of why concerted global collaboration and coordination is needed for the COVID-19 pandemic — and yet the U.S. has failed so far to participate in a number of key global collaborative efforts on this issue.  Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) objected to the unanimous consent request.

“In the midst of a global pandemic causing so much suffering and so many deaths, it would seem that asking the United States to join other countries of the world in searching for therapies and vaccines is just common sense,” Durbin said. “President Trump has decided now is the moment in history for the United States to pull out of the World Health Organization, the same body that's heading a global pandemic response.”

“This resolution calls on the United States to join in a global effort to find a safe and effective vaccine, something that we have done consistently throughout our history until this President took office.  Ultimately, let's remember this is a pandemic that affects the world, and any solution has to be a worldwide solution as well,” Durbin concluded.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced he would move to terminate the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic and after the death toll in the United States surpassed 100,000 Americans. Last month marked the 40th anniversary of WHO’s historic achievement to eradicate smallpox.

The following Senators are cosponsors of Durbin’s resolution: U.S. Senators 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), Ed Markey (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), 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), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Tom Carper (D-DE).

A copy of the Senate resolution is available here.