White House Reportedly Seeking $30 Billion More In Funding For COVID-19

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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As the March 11 deadline for government funding packages looms, reports confirmed Wednesday the Biden administration has asked Congress for another $30 billion in taxpayer funding to help fight against COVID-19.

The Biden administration’s plan includes asking Congress $17.9 billion for vaccines and treatments; $4.9 billion for testing; $3 billion to cover COVID-19 care for the uninsured, and $3.7 billion to plan for new variants, two sources familiar with Biden’s plan told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Republican Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt separately confirmed the $30 billion figure when speaking to reporters about his meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, reported The Hill. “I talked to Secretary Becerra today, and I think they’re going to be proposing a $30 billion supplemental,” said Blunt.

An HHS spokesperson later confirmed Blunt’s story to the outlet, adding they “discussed the status of Covid response funds as well as the need for additional resources to support securing more life-saving treatments and vaccines, sustaining testing capacity, and investing in research and development of next-generation vaccines.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated at a press conference Wednesday that the $30 billion in funding is on top of the funds already available to help fight future variants, according to the AP. 

“While we continue to have sufficient funds to respond to the current omicron surge in the coming weeks, our goal has always been to ensure that we are well prepared to stay ahead of the virus,” the AP reported Psaki said.

The non-partisan, non-profit organization, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, set up an online “Covid Money Tracker.” The website says its purpose is to “explore the data and track the trillions of dollars of federal spending, tax cuts, loans, grants, and subsidies authorized and disbursed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis.”

The committee’s latest projections indicate that the federal deficits will total $15.1 trillion between 2021 and 2031, .6 trillion more than projected.

“With debt already approaching record levels, it is important that policymakers resist calls to increase it further,” the committee said on its website.