Africa: Members of Congress that Led Push for TRIPS Waiver Applaud Biden Administration Announcement

United States President Joe Biden observes dosage preparations during a tour of the vaccination center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.
press release

Washington — After leading more than half of their Democratic colleagues in pushing for a WTO TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Angie Craig (D-MN), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Andy Levin (D-MI), today released the following statement on President Biden’s announcement that the U.S. would support the waiver:

“When President Biden was sworn into office, we knew that the United States was back as  a global leader. Today’s announcement is proof that as a nation, we care more about saving lives and helping poorer nations than we do about corporate greed and profits. When the U.S. taxpayers funded the investment in the research and development of the COVID-19 vaccines, it was not only to find a solution to the pandemic here at home, but also to crush the virus around the world. Americans are endangered if a worldwide COVID-19 vaccine shortage continues to allow this highly contagious, rampant pandemic to spread a path of death and suffering around the globe. Much of the required vaccines should be manufactured abroad near those in greatest need using American technology. The TRIPS waiver will allow sharing of the intellectual property required for vaccine manufacturing to get underway immediately, and we applaud the Biden Administration’s support of it in the WTO. This is the right thing to do, and a moment to make every American proud.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed with this push and was an advocate for this waiver to help end vaccine access inequality across the global. Ambassador Katherine Tai has taken a bold, new stance for the U.S. in the international community as our Trade Representative, and we applaud her efforts.

“We would like to thank President Biden for supporting a temporary WTO TRIPS waiver to allow greater access to COVID-19 vaccines everywhere. A pandemic is not the time to fuss over intellectual property rights; it is a time to come together and crush the virus around the world. Thank you to Ambassador Katherine Tai for advocating for the U.S. leadership in this matter.”

“The virus anywhere is a threat everywhere. The global impact of this move is immeasurable, and we can now move more quickly to ending the pandemic. A return to normal is now much closer in sight for Americans and the globe.”

Last week, these members led a total of 110 members of the House of Representatives in urging the Administration to take this action. The full version of the letter is available HERE.

Yesterday, several of the members participated in a press conference to highlight the letter and react to recent discussions with the Administration. The full video of today’s press conference is available HERE.

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