Senators reached an agreement Monday on a $10 billion package to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, per The Associated Press.
A look back: Previously, the Biden administration asked for $22.5 billion in COVID-19 funding, stating that there would be severe consequences for Americans if such funding was not approved.
- House Democrats later abandoned the COVID-19 spending plans in order to clear a pathway for a $1.5 trillion bill for battling the pandemic, per PBS.
- Due to the lack of funding at the time, in late March and early April, health care institutions stopped offering to fund COVID-19-related expenses for uninsured Americans.
How will the $10 billion be allocated?
The COVID-19 bill will largely be used for “urgent COVID needs,” including research and therapeutics, according to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
- This could lead to “potentially eliminating the need for a future vaccine and mask mandates,” according to Romney.
- “This package will fulfill immediate needs to secure more vaccines, boosters, testing and therapeutics to keep the pandemic at bay — and it must be enacted as quickly as possible,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., according to AP News.
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that while this bill is enough to provide the needed tools, the funding is short of what we will need to keep Americans safe from the pandemic in the long run, according to AP News.
A list of how the funding will be used as shown on Romney’s website:
- $9.25 billion will be used for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
- Of that, not less than $5 billion will be used to “research, develop, manufacture, produce, purchase, and administer therapeutics,” according to Romney’s website.
- About $750 million will be used for research into emerging variants and to support the expansion of vaccine manufacturing.
Where is the COVID-19 funding coming from?
The funding for the bill will be drawn from existing government funding budgets. Romney’s bill will be fully paid for by repurposing existing funds from the already-passed $6 trillion COVID-19 funding.
- $1.93 billion from SBA Shuttered Venues Operators Grants.
- $900 million from SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
- $1.6 billion from USDA ARP and CARES funds.
- $2.31 billion from the Transportation Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program.
- $500 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
- $887 million from the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund.
- $1.873 billion from the Treasury State Small Business Credit Initiative.
Correction: This article previously said the COVID-19 funding bill passed. It did not pass. This article has also been updated with fresh details about the agreement, as well as added context about where the funding will come from.