Top Capitol Hill misappropriators point the finger at the administration, saying the White House does not have enough convincing evidence to make money on Republicans who have just won Voted to declare a pandemic over And they do not want to spend billions more on fighting the virus.
“There is no doubt that they need this money with many of us,” Sen said. Richard Shelby (R-ala.). “I’ve been saying this for weeks, real money accounting [already spent on Covid] That the American people deserve and then go from there. “If there is no money left and it is not hidden anywhere, and if the need has been identified, then you may have a compelling case.”
Even Republicans who support funding and worry about the consequences of running out of money say the administration is not doing enough.
“I am in favor of filling in these accounts,” he said Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), A Republican major in the Senate who is responsible for health care costs. “But their task is to help clarify how much they need and how long it will last. I want to have some facts so I can advocate for that amount during that time. “
At the same time, the Biden administration insists it is doing everything it can to prevent lawmakers from approving funding quickly with serious consequences – especially as cases continue to rise in Asia and Europe and health experts warn of possible spring increases in the United States.
White House and administration officials said in a memo to reporters on Tuesday that since January they have held more than three dozen calls and meetings with members of Congress in both parties, notified congressional committees at least 10 times and sent at least. Dozens of letters to Hill “warning that funds were running out to respond to COVID” and “provide tables on the status of COVID funds,” which Congress has released over the past two years.
But before the speaker Nancy Pelosi Promised to vote $ 15 billion The White House has not announced a plan to move it to the Senate this week, where they need at least 10 Republicans to support the new money.
In public and private, representatives of the Biden administration in return stressed the consequences of leaving the pandemic response unfunded, in the hope that the tactics would increase pressure on lawmakers to compromise. The White House has repeatedly warned that testing capabilities are already dwindling and supplies of therapies are running out for months. On Tuesday, the administration released a list of programs that may need to be abruptly stopped or reduced if Congress refuses to fund a response, including an expected termination of the program that will reimburse providers for treating vulnerable patients.
“HHS will start reducing this program next week and will complete it in early April,” a senior administration official told reporters. More troubling, the official said, would be the cancellation of drug orders for Covid patients next week. Testing should also stop in the second half of this year, an official warned, as well as research and development of a new Covid treatment.
“The failure of the investment now will leave us less prepared for future growth,” said another senior official. “Providing funding only when cases increase is too late to make changes.”
The approach comes amid frustration with House Democrats over their decision last week to cut Covid funding from wider government spending and a bailout package for Ukraine. While federal agencies initially claimed more than $ 30 billion was needed for domestic and international response, the White House and major appropriators drafted an agreement with Senate Republicans to spend $ 15.6 billion in response, which would be partially paid by the clutches. Assistance to States and Territories.
While the administration was wary of diverting money from states, it also concluded that this was the only way to secure additional funding for Covid – and received assurances from Democratic leaders that their members would accompany them.
But House Democrats from the states that lost the most rebels forced the leadership to abandon the plan and leverage that followed to receive funding as part of broader legislation. Biden officials have since hinted that congressional Democrats have made their own mess – and its cleanup will largely depend on them.
The Senior Assistant for Democracy told POLITICO that the Chamber is discussing changes to the bill, focusing on finding alternative remuneration that would be acceptable to the Senate. The aide also stressed that they are keeping a figure of $ 15.6 billion, even as representatives of the Biden administration on Tuesday argued that at least $ 22.5 billion is needed only in the short term.
Deputies from both sides said the removal of Covid funding from the mandatory spending bill was a blow to its chances.
“Once we lose him in the ward, it will be difficult to return,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Told reporters Monday night. “I do not know whether those members of the House were deceived that there was another way, but I think it is difficult to find an alternative way other than the budget.”
Groups that met with Capitol Hill leaders this week say they are also concerned that there is no solid plan to secure funding.
“We asked if it would be packaged with the help of the restaurant. We asked about time – are we talking about days or weeks? “We literally just got a few ‘we do not know,'” a health lawyer close to the talks told POLITICO, who was given anonymity while speaking in private. “All we got was that they were telling us, ‘Keep telling people that Covid is not over.’
‘We Need This Money’: Covid Funding Stops When Congress, White House Fingers Fingers
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