Biden administration cuts funding demand for Covid amid GOP opposition

And while the administration has stressed that money is only for short-term, urgent needs, a new question raises questions about when the White House will have to return to Congress to get more.

Future questions may be even more difficult to pass through Congress because They will not be attached to broad military and domestic budgets that are considered mandatory legislation.

In a letter to top lawmakers Wednesday evening, White House budget official Shalanda Young said the Department of Health and Human Services needed $ 18.25 billion to purchase enough tests, therapies and vaccines – including vaccinations for children under five. Will be approved in the coming months.

Just a few weeks ago, HHS Secretary Xavier Beser received Claimed $ 30 billion Was needed.

“Now the number is about half what they thought they needed just a few days ago. I think it’s not out of necessity, but rather it is a number they think they are likely to get right now. ” Roy BluntTold POLITICO on Wednesday the Senate Chief Republican Recipient on Health Financing.

The new requirement drastically reduces certain areas that are key to pandemic response, including care without insurance. The Biden administration recently demanded $ 3 billion for testing, vaccination and treatment of patients exposed to Covid-19, but After the Republicans retreated to the House and SenateDemand fell to $ 1.5 billion due to a lack of oversight of spending. The new requirement reduces the amount of public health oversight work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which helps officials find and fight new epidemics, from $ 500 million to $ 300 million. Testing demand has been reduced from $ 5 billion to $ 2 billion.

Asked to explain the reduction, a White House spokesman wrote a letter to Yang.

The White House is also asking for $ 4.25 billion for USAID and the state to direct the administration’s efforts to combat Covid-19 overseas – less than the $ 10 billion that USAID and the State Department originally wanted. The agencies withdrew their request last week after the White House received a guarantee that it would reassess their needs in the future.

“We will stay in touch with Congress in the coming weeks and months as we assess the additional demand for resources.” – The young man said in a statement.

And yet, $ 4.25 billion is a relatively small amount for USAID and the state to direct the administration’s efforts to combat Covid-19 overseas. Billions of shots are planned online in 2022, and the administration’s main goal, through USAID, is to help use these personnel in low- and middle-income countries.

Speaking at a congressional hearing on Tuesday evening, Biden announced the new funds as a key to maintaining the progress the country has made in fighting the pandemic, as well as vitally preparing it for future growth or development.

“We achieved this because we provided free vaccines, treatments, tests and masks. “Of course, it will cost money to continue,” he said. “I expect Congress to get it soon.”

In anticipation of a new, dangerous option – which many health experts see inevitably given the large number of still unvaccinated people – Biden also argued that funding was needed for tests, masks and pills.

But even the new reduced demand could fall into a deeply divided Congress that is uncertain about reaching an agreement on funding the rest of the government by next week’s deadline.

On Wednesday, 36 GOP senators headed Mit Romney (R-Utah) Wrote to the White House They say they are not convinced that any new Covid funding is needed and are asking for a full list of how $ 6 trillion has been spent in the Covid Aid Congress over the past two years before they consider any additional requests.

Also opposed are House Republicans Spend more on pandemics.

“If this is new money, probably not,” Republican leader Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) Told POLITICO that Congress would approve the White House request. “Let’s take some of the money that was not spent on Covid in the American rescue plan. This is an obvious source for me. “Let’s go there first.”

Even Republicans and Democrats, even those who say they support public health emergency funding, have also expressed concern that a disagreement over Covid funding could hamper congressional broad negotiations on government funding.

“I’m concerned that Republicans are not serious about omnibuses, and you can not get a supplement if you do not have the budget to add an extra supplement.” Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Told reporters.

“If we can solve it quickly, that’s good,” Blunt said of Covid funding. “But do not slow down Ukrainian aid or the omnibus bill to wait for something we seem to be confused about.”

The House and Senate House Democrats on Thursday asked Congress to support the new funds, arguing that they are needed to keep schools open, things are still shrinking, and the economy can recover.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Congress is now at a “crossroads.”

“Either we act now to protect the progress we have made, or we risk retreating if other contagious options appear in the fall and winter,” he warned in a speech on Thursday. “Just as we can not allow Covid to run our lives, we can not allow ourselves to be deceived by false self-satisfaction.”

Biden administration cuts funding demand for Covid amid GOP opposition

Source link Biden administration cuts funding demand for Covid amid GOP opposition

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