Senate Republicans and Democrats on Monday reached an agreement to buy therapies and vaccines with an additional িড 10 billion in Covid funds and maintain the country’s testing capacity if another Covid wave hits the United States.
The law sets aside at least 5 billion for the purchase and development of covid treatments such as antiviral pills. A further $ 750 million has been earmarked for vaccines that target specific variants and, if necessary, to increase vaccine production capacity in the United States.
The fund is less than half of the 22 22.5 billion first requested by President Joe Biden. The agreement does not include money to support the administration’s efforts to increase vaccinations around the world.
Congress has blocked Covid’s funding because the White House has warned that the United States will not have enough money to allow all Americans to have access to the vaccine in the fall without new aid. House Democrats originally wanted to pass $ 15 billion in the Covid fund last month, but Republicans insisted on redirecting funds already allocated to state and local governments to cover any new spending. Negotiations have moved to the Senate after the House failed to reach a bipartisan agreement.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R.-Utah, said $ 10 billion has been fully disbursed from the Department of Agriculture, Education, Treasury and Transportation, as well as reuse of unused Covid funds from small business administrations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. He said he was disappointed that the law did not include money to support the Biden administration’s efforts to increase vaccinations around the world. Schumer said the initiative is crucial to prevent the emergence of a groundbreaking Covid variant that could avoid the protection afforded by current shots.
Schumer and Romney said they were willing to work together on a supplemental international Covid aid package later this spring.