U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) walks through the Senate subway on March 30, 2022, at a security briefing for senators on Washington’s Capitol Hill attack on Russia’s Ukraine.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
Senate Republicans and Democrats have reached a tentative deal worth 10 10 billion in additional Covid funds, less than half of what President Joe Biden called for to boost the country’s epidemic response before another possible transmission wave.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters he had reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, to cover costs by redirecting funds from the American Rescue Plan passed last year. The funding the White House sought from Congress was much less than the 22.5 billion.
Biden warned yesterday that if Congress fails to act, there will not be enough covid vaccine doses in the United States for all Americans this fall. The White House has also warned that insurers will no longer have coverage for Covid tests, treatment and vaccinations. The United States will face a lack of monoclonal antibody treatment, antiviral pills and covid tests, according to administration officials.
It’s not clear what the package will cover, as senators have not yet released details. The text of the agreement, when completed, will go to the Congressional Budget Office to show that the funds are balanced by the offset.
The House Democrats originally wanted to pass কো 15 billion in Covid money earlier this month as part of a larger government funding package. However, after Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on how to pay for it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Cowid pulled out the funds.
The GOP called for state and local governments to cover any new expenditures by returning money already allocated, but Democrats rejected that claim.
Amicron, a more contagious form of BA.2, is spreading in the United States, now accounting for more than half of all genetically sequenced infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BA.2 has created new covid epidemics in Europe and China, raising concerns that the submarine could do the same thing in the United States.
White House Chief Medical Adviser. Anthony Fawcett said earlier this month that BA.2 would likely lead to an increase in infections in the United States, although he did not expect another increase. Epidemiologists say the United States could face another wave in the fall, as vaccines weaken immunity and people move indoors because of the cold weather.