Updated Jun 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sens. Graham, Sasse applaud Biden's vaccine diplomacy

Sens. Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham during a committee hearing in January 2019.

Sens. Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham during a committee hearing in January 2019. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Thursday praised the Biden administration's decision to purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to share with countries around the world, calling the decision the "right move."

The big picture: Their statements represent a rare moment of praise of Biden by Republicans.

  • Sasse has advocated for the U.S. to distribute 1 billion vaccines worldwide by Thanksgiving, and in a previous statement called the Biden administration's global vaccination plans "timid."

What they're saying: “Health diplomacy is a smart investment and buying these vaccines is the right move. America should have an aggressive strategy to vaccinate a billion people around the world this year," Sasse said in a statement.

  • "America should administer these vaccines directly in order to counter the Chinese Communist Party's strategy of using the pandemic to gain the upper hand."
  • "We should move quickly to share these life-saving shots with friends in Asia and across the developing world with a simple message: Uncle Sam, not Chairman Xi, cares about your health.”

Graham said in a statement that the "roughly $3.5 billion required to purchase and distribute 500 million doses of vaccine will help prevent a reemergence of the COVID-19 virus which makes America and the world safer."

  • “I support the effort of the Biden Administration to donate vaccines to at-risk populations throughout the world and hope other countries will follow America’s lead. I believe this to be a good investment by the American taxpayer.
  • “Again, I do hope other nations will contribute their fair share. The sooner we have vaccines available to the world, the better," Graham added.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Graham's statement.

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