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White House Request for $10 Billion in COVID-19 Aid Remains Stalled

Consensus on an aid package briefly emerged earlier this spring

While President Joe Biden this week marked the milestone of 1 million deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., a fresh round of funding to boost the availability of tests, therapeutics and vaccines remains stalled in Congress.

Consensus on a $10 billion COVID aid package briefly emerged earlier this spring, but to break a logjam in the Senate, Republicans want Democrats to permit a vote on amendments dealing with immigration, specifically a proposal to maintain restrictions on migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Senate Democrats sought to link pandemic aid to the $40 billion in new assistance to Ukraine, which passed the House on Tuesday evening, but the White House asked Congress to separate the two bills so that support for Ukraine would not be delayed.

“It’s very simple: If the White House goes to [Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer] and says, ‘We’d like to get a vote on this, let the Republicans and Democrats each have amendments,’ it’ll be voted on and passed,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), the chief GOP negotiator on the bipartisan $10 billion COVID package. “It’s being held up for political purposes only.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa LeLauro (D-CT) said the hold-up in the Senate is “woefully irresponsible.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. is likely to see another significant uptick in COVID rates and deaths this fall and winter from a new, faster-spreading version of the omicron variant that’s already been circulating domestically.

“We don’t want to sugarcoat it: We need more money,” Psaki said. “We don’t have a Plan B here.”

This article was provided to OSAP by ASAE's Power of Associations and Inroads.

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