October 27, 2021

Chairwoman Barbara Lee Holds Hearing on Global COVID-19 Response

Washington, DC– Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, held a hearing on the global COVID-19 response.

The hearing was focused on the administration’s response to the global fight against COVID-19 and vaccine distribution. The featured witnesses in the hearing were:

  • Sarah Charles, Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development

  • Jeremy Konyndyk, Executive Director of the USAID COVID-19 Task Force and Senior Advisor to the Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

  • Gayle Smith, Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security, U.S. Department of State

  • Lesley Ziman, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging globally for more than eighteen months, has taken millions of lives, and devastated even more livelihoods -- without an end in sight,” said Chairwoman Lee. “There is no way to end this pandemic except to combat it globally. I am proud of what we have achieved so far, but after this hearing, it is clear we have still not won the battle against COVID.  Each passing day brings the risk of new deadly variants.  We all need to act with more urgency, which is why today’s hearing was so critical.”

“We must continue to lead through increasing the distribution of vaccines, personal protective equipment, and research to be prepared for the next global health crisis. I’d like to thank Chairwoman DeLauro for her leadership, our witnesses for their testimony, my colleagues for their line of questioning, and our staff for their work on this hearing. It’s crucial that as the virus changes, we adapt our response along with it.”

“Even as we have turned a corner with COVID-19 in the United States, it is far from over across the globe,” said Chair DeLauro. “Disparities in vaccine access between wealthy and developing countries has meant that even as some of us here are receiving third-dose booster shots, many people in lower-income countries have not yet received a single dose. The United States must play a leadership role in ending the virus’ uncontrolled spread. We need to enhance equitable access to vaccines, make tests, therapeutics, and personal protective equipment more widely available, and begin the work now to prevent future pandemics. I thank Chairwoman Lee for organizing this critical hearing to discuss the actions we have taken thus far and how we move forward to defeat the coronavirus globally.”

To read Congresswoman Lee’s opening statement, click here. To watch the full hearing, click here.