Also on the agenda: more aid for Ukraine. President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the United States would send an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine as the Russian invasion soon enters its third month in what US officials are warning as a potentially new phase. bloody.
“As Congress returns from recess, the administration will focus on working with lawmakers to secure funds to maintain assistance to the people of Ukraine and continue to protect the American people from Covid-19,” said the manager.
The official added, “Congress’s inaction is already taking its toll – from uninsured Americans suddenly having to foot the bill for tests, treatments and vaccines, to states receiving fewer monoclonal antibodies to stop people going to hospital. Further inaction is unacceptable, and Congress must quickly provide us with the funds we urgently need to protect the American people and abroad.”
The Biden administration has been sounding the alarm for weeks that additional funding is needed to continue the federal response to Covid-19, even as it seeks a return to “normal” with the lifting of many pandemic-era restrictions.
Concerns raised by officials include:
- A possible lack of adequate resources to purchase enough boosters for all Americans if additional boosters are permitted
- The possibility that monoclonal antibody treatments will run out as early as next month
- A reduced purchase of AstraZeneca’s preventative treatment
- Insufficient testing capacity and supply in the future
- Impacts on research and development
Impasse on Covid aid
The standoff before the Easter holiday came as Republicans demanded a vote on an immigration amendment to restore Title 42. Democrats opposed it, criticizing Republicans for what they called a demand of the eleventh hour in a negotiation which they thought was final.
Still, Democratic leaders said a vote on an amendment would have violated the deal they thought they had with Republicans. While a number of Democrats had said they would support stand-alone legislation restoring Title 42 as long as a public health emergency existed in other parts of the government, even members who had opposed the action of Biden said they didn’t want the debate to be Covid-related. funding.
“We had a bipartisan deal and unfortunately, because of a foreign issue, we won’t be able to get the 10 Republican votes we need to pass it,” Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said at the time. referring to the threshold of procedural voting to advance bills in the Senate.
The inaction before the break marked the second time a tentative deal on a Covid relief package had been scuttled in just over a month. In March, a $15.6 billion package that had been brokered by House and Senate leaders fell apart when a group of House Democrats rioted against it over the way he had been paid.
CNN’s Lauren Fox and Rachel Janfaza contributed to this report.