White House warns of ‘severe consequences’ if Congress doesn’t pass supplemental COVID funding

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White Home COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients on Monday renewed the Biden administration’s pressing name for Congress to move pandemic supplemental funding or face “extreme penalties.”His remarks got here amid uncertainty for the legislative path ahead for extra cash for the federal authorities’s pandemic response.The Biden administration requested $22.5 billion in supplemental COVID-19 reduction funding within the huge authorities funding bundle, often known as the omnibus. Negotiators had proposed a scaled-back $15.6 billion for COVID reduction, however — following pushback on each side of the aisle — Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced that COVID provisions can be stripped from the funding invoice, which handed Congress late final week.Home Democrats have launched a standalone COVID reduction invoice, but it surely doesn’t presently have the votes to move each chambers.”Previous to the omnibus, we spent weeks briefing Congress on the pressing and speedy wants that required funding to maintain our response by June. We despatched Congress a focused request for $22.5 billion to satisfy these pressing medical wants,” Zients mentioned on the America’s Well being Insurance coverage Plans nationwide convention on well being coverage and authorities well being applications, in accordance with a replica of his ready remarks obtained by CNN.Zients continued, “We requested Congress to offer these funds as emergency assets with out requiring cuts elsewhere to offset them that might jeopardize them transferring ahead — as lawmakers have accomplished a number of instances on a bipartisan foundation underneath the prior administration. I need to be very clear: Extra funds are essential within the very close to future to keep away from disruptions to ongoing COVID response efforts.”Ought to Congress fail to behave, Zients added, “it could lead to extreme penalties” for efforts towards therapy, testing, vaccines, efforts to assist ship extra vaccines globally and battle future variants. These factors are all key to President Joe Biden’s nationwide preparedness plan for the subsequent state of the pandemic outlined earlier this month.Executing that plan requires further congressional help and funding, together with cash for vaccines, remedies, checks and masks, Zients mentioned. The administration additionally calls on Congress to reinstate tax credit to assist small and mid-size companies present paid sick and household go away for these sick with COVID-19.In ongoing efforts to assist get extra folks vaccinated overseas, Zients famous the U.S. has shipped 485 million doses of 1.2 billion promised doses thus far. Provide, he mentioned, “hasn’t been a constraint thus far this yr,” however the White Home is looking on Congress to “present extra funding for State and USAID-led efforts to assist international locations flip vaccines into vaccinations — to get photographs in arms around the globe.”The funding can even assist “guarantee an orderly transition to the business market,” although he didn’t elaborate on timing for when that transition for COVID-related applications could be.

White Home COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients on Monday renewed the Biden administration’s pressing name for Congress to move pandemic supplemental funding or face “extreme penalties.”

His remarks got here amid uncertainty for the legislative path ahead for extra cash for the federal authorities’s pandemic response.

The Biden administration requested $22.5 billion in supplemental COVID-19 reduction funding within the huge authorities funding bundle, often known as the omnibus. Negotiators had proposed a scaled-back $15.6 billion for COVID reduction, however — following pushback on each side of the aisle — Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced that COVID provisions can be stripped from the funding invoice, which handed Congress late final week.

Home Democrats have launched a standalone COVID reduction invoice, but it surely doesn’t presently have the votes to move each chambers.

“Previous to the omnibus, we spent weeks briefing Congress on the pressing and speedy wants that required funding to maintain our response by June. We despatched Congress a focused request for $22.5 billion to satisfy these pressing medical wants,” Zients mentioned on the America’s Well being Insurance coverage Plans nationwide convention on well being coverage and authorities well being applications, in accordance with a replica of his ready remarks obtained by CNN.

Zients continued, “We requested Congress to offer these funds as emergency assets with out requiring cuts elsewhere to offset them that might jeopardize them transferring ahead — as lawmakers have accomplished a number of instances on a bipartisan foundation underneath the prior administration. I need to be very clear: Extra funds are essential within the very close to future to keep away from disruptions to ongoing COVID response efforts.”

Ought to Congress fail to behave, Zients added, “it could lead to extreme penalties” for efforts towards therapy, testing, vaccines, efforts to assist ship extra vaccines globally and battle future variants. These factors are all key to President Joe Biden’s nationwide preparedness plan for the subsequent state of the pandemic outlined earlier this month.

Executing that plan requires further congressional help and funding, together with cash for vaccines, remedies, checks and masks, Zients mentioned. The administration additionally calls on Congress to reinstate tax credit to assist small and mid-size companies present paid sick and household go away for these sick with COVID-19.

In ongoing efforts to assist get extra folks vaccinated overseas, Zients famous the U.S. has shipped 485 million doses of 1.2 billion promised doses thus far. Provide, he mentioned, “hasn’t been a constraint thus far this yr,” however the White Home is looking on Congress to “present extra funding for State and USAID-led efforts to assist international locations flip vaccines into vaccinations — to get photographs in arms around the globe.”

The funding can even assist “guarantee an orderly transition to the business market,” although he didn’t elaborate on timing for when that transition for COVID-related applications could be.



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