Lawmakers agree to $10 billion in covid funds, but drop global aid from deal

Senate negotiators, including Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Richard Burr (RN.C.), sought a compromise with Democrats, after lawmakers failed to agree on a 15-pack billion dollars which would have included approximately $10 billion in domestic funding and $5 billion for the international response. The deal to be announced on Monday is expected to reallocate funding from previous stimulus packages, lawmakers said last week.

However, the deal does not include money for the global response, which Biden officials say is critical to protecting Americans from the emergence of potentially dangerous new threats. variants in other parts of the world that would likely make it to the United States. The administration previously announced a plan overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development to help boost vaccine delivery in developing countries, though USAID officials said they would be forced to suspend the initiative without additional funding.

Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) had pushed negotiators to funds the global response, and an earlier “agreement in principle” touted by Romney last Thursday would have included about $1 billion in global aid. But lawmakers were unable to agree on how to pay for that aid, people familiar with the deal said. Democrats have said they will seek to fund the administration’s international response through a separate legislative package later this year.

Some members of the House warned last week that they would not support a package that did not include funding for the global response.

“I don’t understand why we as a country would make this mistake. My constituents don’t want another variant to end their lives,” Rep. Tom Malinowski (DN.J.) said in an interview Thursday. “My constituents are already facing higher prices due to covid-related economic disruption halfway around the world in countries that are not sufficiently vaccinated.

Lawmakers rushed to reach an agreement to pay for the continued pandemic response before leaving for a two-week break on April 9, with lawmakers warning that failure to reach an agreement now could stall the American response in May.


Washington

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