Congress denies additional COVID funding: How could this affect Americans?
The White House states it will have to wind down its current COVID relief program, due to Congress’ denial of additional funding
Detailed in a letter from the White House on Tuesday, the United States is running out of COVID-19 funding that offers free vaccinations, tests and treatment to the immunocompromised.
- The letter said the government will have to cut back on offering these resources to the American public within the next week.
Last week, Congress voted on a government spending bill but declined to add $22.5 billion to the bill for continued funding for COVID-19-related spending.
- The bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
- The president did not speak as to why the COVID-19 funding was not approved.
Republicans question the use of previous funding
- Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has approved over $3.8 billion in COVID-19 relief funding. In all, 35 Republican senators, led by Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney, sent a letter to the president, inquiring where the previous allotted funding had gone.
- “Before we would consider supporting an additional $30 billion for COVID-19 relief, Congress must receive a full accounting. of how the government has already spent the first $6 trillion,” the letter from the senators read.
- At the time of reporting, the White House has not yet explained how the $6 trillion in COVID-19 relief has been spent, according to NPR.
What a lack of additional COVID funding could mean for future relief efforts
After the rejection of additional funding, the White House wrote a letter to Congress on Tuesday, saying what a lack of COVID-19 funding means for the U.S.
- Lack of funding for purchasing of additional booster shots: If more COVID-19 variants emerge, different boosters may be developed to fight them. Without additional funding, the government will not be able to purchase enough boosters for Americans.
- Medical providers will no longer be able to offer free testing, treatment or vaccinations for the uninsured: Without this funding, U.S. doctors will stop accepting claims from uninsured people considering COVID-19 treatment by March 22. The program will stop altogether by April 5.
- No more purchasing monoclonal antibody treatments: Previously, the U.S. government has been able to offer monoclonal treatments to Americans free of charge. Without funding, the government will halt the purchase of these treatments, and will cease offering the treatments to the people.
- Testing, vaccine and treatment efforts will be halted: Without funding, the U.S. will no longer be able to invest in more oral antiviral pills or any new promising antiviral treatment. They will also dial back on research into a “next-generation” COVID-19 vaccine that would protect against a wide range of variants. Without the additional funding, testing capacity within the country will greatly reduce after June.
- Dialing back the purchase of treatments for the immunocompromised: The federal government was planning on buying treatments for immunocompromised individuals on March 31. Lack of funding will result in a limited amount of said treatments.
- The ability to identify and assess new variants would be impaired: Reduced funding will leave the country “blindsided” to emerging variants, says the letter. Limited funding will mean that researchers won’t be able to properly assess any new variants of COVID-19 that could possibly emerge.
- Reduction of global COVID-19 treatment efforts: Without additional funding, the U.S. will have reduced ability to aid other countries in vaccination and other COVID-19 treatment efforts.