The Biden administration will renew COVID-19 funding when Congress returns
The Biden administration will renew COVID-19 funding when Congress returns

The Biden administration will renew COVID-19 funding when Congress returns

The Biden administration will renew its push with lawmakers to secure COVID-19 funding this week when Congress returns from recess, a White House official told CNN after Senate inaction on a $ 10 billion funding package before it two-week Easter holiday. at the top of the agenda: more aid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the United States will send another $ 800 million in military aid to Ukraine as the Russian invasion soon enters its third month in what US officials warn could become a potentially bloody new phase. ” “to work with lawmakers to secure funds to keep aid flowing to the Ukrainian people and continue to protect the American people from COVID-19,” the official said. The official added, “Congressional passivity is already taking its toll – from uninsured Americans suddenly having to pay the bill for tests, treatments and vaccines, to states receiving fewer monoclonal antibodies to keep people out of the hospital. Further inaction is unacceptable, and Congress must immediately give us the means we need to protect the American people and abroad. ” The Biden administration has been sounding the alarm for several weeks that additional funding is needed to continue the federal COVID-19 response, even though it is seeking a return to “normal” with the lifting of many pandemic restrictions. Concerns raised by officials include: A possible lack of sufficient resources to buy enough booster shots for all Americans if additional booster shots are approved The possibility of monoclonal antibody treatments expiring as soon as next month. A reduced purchase of AstraZeneca’s preventative treatment Insufficient test capacity and supply going forward. Impacts on research and development.Impassage over Covid aid The Biden administration requested $ 22.5 billion in additional COVID-19 aid last month in a massive government funding package, but it was removed from the bill. It included funding for testing, treatments, therapy and prevention of future outbreaks. Negotiators were able to agree on a $ 10 billion scaled-down package, but Congress left Washington earlier this month without passing the double bill amid a disagreement over Title 42 immigration policy – a pandemic rule that allowed migrants to be returned immediately to their home countries with reference to a public health emergency. The downturn before the Easter holidays came when Republicans demanded a vote on an immigration amendment to restore Title 42. Democrats protested and criticized Republicans for what they called an eleventh-hour question in a debate they had thought was final. After the Biden administration announced it planned to end Title 42 in May, both Republicans and Democrats blew up the decision. Still, Democratic leaders said a vote then on an amendment would have violated the agreement they thought they had reached with Republicans. While a number of Democrats had said they would support independent legislation reinstating Title 42 as long as there is a public health emergency in other parts of the government, even members who had opposed Biden’s action said they did not want to have the debate linked to Covid funding. “We had a bipartisan agreement, and unfortunately, due to an irrelevant issue, we will not be able to get the 10 Republican votes we need to pass it,” the Democratic senator said. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan at the time. with reference to the procedural voting threshold for advancing bills in the Senate. The lack of action before the break marked the second time that a preliminary agreement on a Covid aid package had been rejected in just over a month. In March, a $ 15.6 billion package that had been negotiated by House and Senate leaders collapsed when a group of House Democrats rebelled against it over how it was paid.

The Biden administration will renew its push with lawmakers to secure COVID-19 funding this week when Congress returns from recess, a White House official told CNN after Senate inaction on a $ 10 billion funding package before it two-week Easter holiday.

Also at the top of the agenda: more aid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States will send an additional $ 800 million in military aid to Ukraine as the Russian invasion soon enters its third month in what U.S. officials warn could become a potentially bloody new phase.

“When Congress returns from recess, the administration will be focused on working with lawmakers to secure funds to keep aid flowing to the Ukrainian people and continue to protect the American people from COVID-19,” the official said.

The official added: “The passivity of Congress is already taking its toll – from uninsured Americans who suddenly have to pay the bill for tests, treatments and vaccines, to states that receive fewer monoclonal antibodies to keep people out of the hospital. Further inaction is unacceptable, and Congress must immediately provide us with the means we need to protect the American people and abroad. “

The Biden administration has been sounding the alarm for several weeks that additional funding is needed to continue the federal COVID-19 response, although it seeks to return to “normal” with many restrictions from the pandemic era lifted.

Concerns raised by officials include:

  • A possible lack of sufficient resources to purchase enough booster shots for all Americans if additional booster shots are approved
  • The possibility of monoclonal antibody treatments expiring as early as next month
  • A scaled-down purchase of AstraZeneca’s preventative treatment
  • Insufficient test capacity and supply in the future
  • Impact on research and development

stalemate over Covid aid

The Biden administration requested $ 22.5 billion in additional COVID-19 aids last month in a massive government funding package, but it was removed from the bill. It included funding for testing, treatments, therapy and prevention of future outbreaks. Negotiators were able to agree on a $ 10 billion scaled-down package, but Congress left Washington earlier this month without passing the double bill amid a disagreement over Title 42 immigration policy – a pandemic rule that allowed migrants to be returned immediately to their home countries with reference to a public health emergency.

The dead end before the Easter holidays came when Republicans demanded a vote on an immigration change to restore Title 42. Democrats protested and criticized Republicans for what they called an eleven-hour question in a debate they had thought was final.

After the Biden administration announced it planned to end Title 42 in May, both Republicans and Democrats blew up the decision.

Still, Democratic leaders said a vote then on an amendment would have violated the agreement they thought they had reached with Republicans. While a number of Democrats had said they would support independent legislation reinstating Title 42 as long as there is a public health emergency in other parts of the government, even members who had opposed Biden’s action said they did not want to have the debate related to Covid funding.

“We had a bipartisan agreement, and unfortunately, due to an irrelevant issue, we will not be able to get the 10 Republican votes we need to pass it,” Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said at the time, referring to the procedural voting threshold for advancing bills in the Senate.

The lack of action before the break marked the second time that a preliminary agreement on a Covid aid package had been rejected in just over a month. In March, a $ 15.6 billion package that had been negotiated by House and Senate leaders collapsed when a group of House Democrats rebelled against it over how it was paid.

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