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White House Seeks Additional $30B For Continuing COVID Fight

White House Seeks Additional $30B For Continuing COVID Fight

The Biden administration is telling Congress that it needs an additional $30 billion to keep going in the fight against COVID-19, White House officials said on Tuesday.

The administration’s plan outlines $17.9 billion for vaccines and treatments, $4.9 billion for testing, $3 billion to cover coronavirus care for uninsured people, and $3.7 billion to prepare for future variants.

US out of COVID vaccine
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]
According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Congress has already approved $5.8 trillion to battle the pandemic in a series of major bills spanning both the Trump and Biden administrations. Actions by the Federal Reserve to help keep the economy going are considered separate. White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the need for more money without specifying the amount being sought. “While we continue to have sufficient funds to respond to the current omicron surge in the coming weeks, our goal has always been to ensure that we are well prepared to stay ahead of the virus,” she said. “A big part of our effort right now, and where we have seen challenges is turning vaccines into vaccinations,” she said. The logistics involve “hyperlocal issues,” she said.

 

It’s unclear how the new request for supplemental funding will fare in Congress. Republicans would like to see more COVID-19 relief for businesses still struggling with the pandemic, while Democratic progressives want a major effort to vaccinate the rest of the world. Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told reporters he’d spoken with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and that “I think they are going to be proposing a $30 billion supplemental.”

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While vaccine doses are starting to become more plentiful, the support system to put shots into arms remains inadequate in many poorer countries. It’s leading to vaccines being wasted, advocates say. Instead of spending that money at home, humanitarian groups and dozens of Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring the Biden White House and key leaders in Congress to provide billions of dollars for global vaccination efforts. They argue that will help fend off another coronavirus variant that could race around the world with deadly consequences.

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