House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stripped COVID-19 money from Congress’ omnibus government funding bill due to infighting among Democrats.
Congress was expected to include almost $16 billion in funding to continue fighting the coronavirus pandemic that President Joe Biden recently said Americans are ready to move on from, about one-third of which would be to help global relief efforts in other countries. But a sizeable portion of the Democratic caucus revolted over how the funds would be paid for.
1) Pelosi tells Dems they will have to remove COVID aid from omnibus.
“Republicans resisted this deeply needed funding, demanding that every cent requested by the Administration be offset, including through state and local funds scheduled to be released this spring.”
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) March 9, 2022
House leadership planned to pay for some of the new COVID-19 relief funds with leftover money from last year’s American Rescue Plan, according to CNN. The plan was Democrats’ response to Republican objections that states should actually spend all of the relief money they were already given before more funds are disbursed.
Thirty states would’ve had to use American Rescue Plan funding to offset some of the costs of the new spending, according to CNN. Democrats in those states revolted against Pelosi, leading to the pandemic funding for things like therapeutics and vaccine doses being scrapped from the omnibus entirely.
“It is heartbreaking to remove the COVID funding, and we must continue to fight for urgently needed COVID assistance, but unfortunately that will not be included in this bill,” Pelosi wrote in a letter Wednesday.
Democrats reportedly plan to push a standalone COVID-19 relief funding bill in the House, but it’s unclear if such a bill would be able to pass the 50-50 Senate. (RELATED: Where The Heck Is Anthony Fauci? People Are Talking)
“Our states have planned for these dollars,” Democratic Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig told CNN, speaking of the American Rescue plan funds. “We fought like tooth and nail to get these dollars home to our state governments. And now we’re sitting here this morning talking about that being called back is the option.”
“New York and California got their dollars,” Democratic Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell told CNN. “It’s not fair that 30 states not get their dollars.”