Global Leadership in the Face of COVID-19

COVID-19 International Response and Recovery Act (CIRRA) (S. 3669)

In early May, top Senate Democrats introduced sweeping comprehensive legislation to provide an additional $9 billion in funding to help support international efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  The COVID-19 International Response and Recovery Act, also known as CIRRA (S. 3669), aims at compelling the Trump Administration to constructively engage with other countries, international organizations, and multilateral fora to not only halt the spread of COVID-19, but also ensure that key rights are protected throughout the global response.

In essence, the bill mandates that the United States continue to look outward in the face of a pandemic that has caused most countries to turn almost completely inward and to ignore the world’s most vulnerable in the process.

CIRRA aims to strengthen the global health system, support American citizens abroad, and restore American global leadership at a time of profound crisis. But beyond serving these clear US interests, the bill also works to stymie many of the dynamics that may lead to mass atrocity crimes if left unchecked. 

Recognizing America’s vital role — and moral obligation — to counter the risk of rights erosion in the global response to COVID-19, CIRRA includes efforts to support democratic institutions, human rights defenders, civil society and others targeted in countries where government measures taken in response to the pandemic have grossly violated human rights.   The bill also requires the Trump Administration to stop the forced return of vulnerable migrants to these countries and restore America’s role as a safe haven to those fleeing danger and abuse. 

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in introducing the legislation.

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