Here’s what’s in the $10 billion Covid-19 aid bill
By Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby, CNN
(CNN) – The Senate reached a bipartisan deal to provide an additional $10 billion in Covid-19 aid, less than half of what the The White House originally requested.
This would allow the Biden administration to buy more vaccines and therapeutics, as well as maintain testing capacity and research. But that doesn’t include $5 billion in funding for global Covid-19 relief, or replenish the program that pays for test, treat and vaccinate uninsured people.
The deal would be paid for using unspent funds from the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief packagepromulgated in March 2021.
However, it would not draw on the funds previously earmarked for state and local government support. This proposed compensation prompted several House Democrats to torpedo a $15.6 billion Covid-19 relief package that was originally part of the expense bill for the whole year.
“We urge Congress to act quickly on this $10 billion package so it can begin funding the most immediate needs, as we are currently at risk of missing some critical tools like treatments and testing from of May and June,” the White House press secretary said. Jen Psaki wrote in a statement Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who was negotiating for Republicans, each released the text and summaries of the agreement.
Here’s what’s in the deal:
Vaccines, therapies and tests
The deal would channel $9.25 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, according to the summaries.
At least $5 billion would be spent on buying therapeutics, such as oral antivirals. Currently, there is a limited supply of treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, which are provided free to Americans regardless of insurance coverage.
The federal government has already cut weekly allocations for many Covid-19 therapies due to both a lack of demand and a drop in available funding. The distribution of two monoclonal antibody treatments – sotrovimab and bebtelovimab – has been reduced “because Congress has not provided additional funding for the Covid-19 response”, a Department of Health and Humanities spokesperson said. Social Services in a statement to CNN last month.
In a fact sheet released last month, the White House said the federal government had run out of funding to purchase additional monoclonals, including an order scheduled for March 25. She also said she had no option to purchase additional oral antiviral pills beyond the 20 million already secured.
Additionally, additional funds from the deal would be used to purchase vaccines, including boosters, childhood vaccines and, potentially, new types of vaccines. The Biden administration has warned that second booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine — or a new type of vaccine, if needed — will not be free and readily available to all Americans, if and when allowed, without additional funding. of Congress.
And the funds would be used to maintain testing capacity so that home test manufacturing and laboratory capacity for PCR testing does not decrease over the summer to the point that it cannot be increased again in the event of a future Covid -19 surge.
One way to ensure testing is available in the future is for the federal government to purchase testing supplies from manufacturers or provide funding to maintain state and local testing infrastructure.
Some $750 million would go to the Public Health and Human Services Emergency Fund for research, clinical trials and vaccine development against emerging variants. It could also be used to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity as needed.
Without additional funding, the government will have to end some Covid-19 surveillance investments that help it detect the next variant, the White House has said.
Here’s how it will be paid:
The $10 billion legislation would be fully offset by Covid-19 relief funds that were previously authorized by Congress but have yet to be spent, according to a summary provided by Romney’s office.
Nearly $2 billion remains from the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program, which gave money to concert halls, theaters and museums that have been forced to close for some time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 19. The program stopped taking requests in August. He awarded more than $14 billion in grants.
The new bill would also reuse about $900 million left over for the Covid-19 economic disaster loan. advanced program, which allowed certain small businesses to receive up to $15,000 that did not have to be repaid. According to a invoice summary provided by Senate Democrats.
The new bill would use $1.6 billion in unspent funds that were previously given to the US Department of Agriculture from the Democrats’ coronavirus relief program, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, and the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, which was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump in 2020, according to a summary from Senate Democrats.
More than $2.3 billion would come from Aircraft Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program, which granted companies financing enabling them to cover up to half of their payroll costs for certain categories of employees for a period of up to six months. In return, these companies were required to make several commitments, including not to lay off or involuntarily lay off employees of this group during the same six-month period.
The new bill would also use the remaining unspent money in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, totaling $500 million. This program provided funds to colleges so they could provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The relief package would set aside more than $1.8 billion of the $10 billion in Covid-19 relief funds provided to the State Small Business Credit Initiative Program. The program aims to help states, the District of Columbia, territories, and tribal governments “expand access to capital for small businesses emerging from the pandemic, create ecosystems of opportunity and entrepreneurship, and create high quality jobs”. The bill would not cancel money allocated specifically to disadvantaged small businesses and very small businesses, according to a summary provided by Senate Democrats.
According to a summary provided by Senate Democrats.
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