President Biden marked what he called the “tragic milestone” of one million U.S. deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday by insisting that Congress authorize billions of dollars in new spending to boost America’s response to the pandemic strengthen.
“As a nation, we must not numb such grief,” the president said in a statement early this morning. “In order to heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant in the face of this pandemic and do what we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have done with more tests, vaccines and treatments than ever before. It is critical that Congress sustains these resources in the months to come.”
In March, the White House asked Congress to approve $22.5 billion for COVID treatments, testing, vaccines and research. That request was reduced to $15.6 billion by Hill negotiators before being scrapped from the government funding legislation through Sept. 30 over Republican objections.
Last month, Senate GOPers blocked Democrats’ efforts to move forward with $10 billion in new COVID spending by insisting on an amendment that the Title 42 health agency would keep on the U.S.-Mexico border had. This policy, which allows migrants to be summarily expelled without being able to apply for asylum, currently expires on May 23.
Earlier this week, the White House attempted to link the spending request to additional military aid to Ukraine, but Biden was forced to back down from that request as well.
“I have been informed by congressional leaders from both parties that such an addition would slow action on much-needed Ukrainian aid — a view strongly expressed by several Republicans in Congress,” the president said in a statement Monday.
“We cannot afford to delay this vital war effort. Therefore, I am ready to accept that these two measures will be separated so that the Ukrainian aid law can land on my desk immediately.”
Republicans have insisted the new spending isn’t needed, arguing the Biden administration should repurpose some of the billions of dollars in unused funds earmarked for state and local governments.
“My guess is that $1.9 trillion was shipped in March he should be able to find $30 billion out of that number,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told The Washington Post in March, referring to Biden’s American Rescue Plan stimulus, which passed Congress along party lines happened.
Overall, Congress has passed about $5 trillion in COVID-19 remedies, with most of the funds set to offset the economic impact of the virus.
The White House has argued that reallocating funds is not possible, and press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday, “We don’t have a plan B here.”
We will use the few remaining funds to keep testing, treatment and vaccines available to Americans for as long as possible,” she said. “And we will continue to work on the phones, hold briefings, and take our case publicly and privately with lawmakers, imploring Congress to act promptly after our long – after – to help us with our long-overdue COVID needs.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/12/biden-marks-1-million-us-covid-19-deaths-with-funding-demand/ Biden marks 1 million US COVID-19 deaths requiring funding