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.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.
Despite some U.S. states lifting their mask mandates, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said that students and teachers should continue to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools https://t.co/jxdA7CwZQR pic.twitter.com/YbDnhxBt45
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 10, 2022
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.”
Got this in the mail and just a reminder: a competent Trump administration could have done this within a year. There was a playbook and they did not lack corporate relationships. They actively blocked testing. pic.twitter.com/R9qVipii6S
— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) February 10, 2022
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.
The Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original virus that causes #COVID19. Help stop Omicron by using all the tools to protect yourself and others.
Learn more: https://t.co/wbu65L0mgM.
— CDC (@CDCgov) December 22, 2021