The Biden administration has signaled it will seek $30 billion in additional funding for COVID-19 during talks with Congress on Tuesday, including money for vaccines, testing and treatment.
The talks come ahead of the March 11 deadline for a government funding package, which could serve as a vehicle for more COVID-19 funds.
Sen. Roy BluntFDA’s pick of Roy Dean BluntBiden clears key Senate hurdle Hawley endorses nominee to succeed fellow Missouri senator Blunt On The Money – Inflation hits highest rate since Feb 1982 MORE (R-Mo.) told reporters he had spoken to the Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraFDA clears another antibody treatment to fight omicron Biden administration buys 600,000 doses of new COVID-19 antibody drug White House disputes reports of federal funds for crack pipes MORE Tuesday and expects a $30 billion request.
“I spoke to Secretary Becerra today, and I think they’re going to come up with an additional $30 billion,” Blunt said, according to audio provided by his office.
He noted that he had previously wondered if the money already provided was still available, but said: “Frankly, in the categories they are asking for money for, the other money has all been spent or committed. for the purpose for which it was appropriate.”
An HHS spokesperson confirmed the discussions, saying agency leaders “discussed the status of COVID response funds as well as the need for additional resources to support securing more treatments and vaccines. life-saving vaccines, maintaining testing capacity and investing in research and development of next-generation vaccines.
“These resources would help us continue to develop the tools the country needs to stay ahead of the virus and help us move forward toward a time when COVID-19 does not disrupt our daily lives,” the statement added. .
The statement made no mention of additional funding for global vaccinations, an area where Democratic lawmakers have pushed for more action.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, along with other Democratic lawmakers, has called for $17 billion for global vaccinations.
Asked about COVID-19 funding talks in general on Tuesday, the White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWatch live: White House holds press briefing Man who attacked police in Paris with knife killed, official says union rates rise among young workers MORE said “what we’re trying to do now is stay ahead” of the virus.
Some congressional Republicans, however, have expressed opposition to more funding, pointing to the billions already allocated.
“It’s ridiculous to think that Congress should agree to such a request,” the representative said. Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithRepublican Rep. won’t run for Senate, hopes to become Ways and Means Speaker: Report Don’t Just Delay Student Debt, Avoid It Nunes’ resignation sparks GOP scramble on ways and means MORE (Mo.), the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, wrote in a Fox News op-ed last week. “The administration’s own track of inflation-fueled spending over the past year has done little to bolster Americans’ confidence that the government is a good steward of their tax dollars. .”
This story was updated at 4:49 p.m.