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Congress Strikes Deal on COVID-19 Response Funding

The good news: Congressional negotiators have cut a deal for $10 billion in additional funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccination in the US. The bipartisan package will enable the federal government to purchase more therapeutics, tests, vaccines, and other supplies, after White House warnings that the COVID-19 money was about to run out. The bad news: The package is significantly smaller than the $15.6 billion Republican and Democratic lawmakers initially agreed to in March, not to mention well below the $22.5 billion that the White House requested. But talks quickly dissolved, with the Republicans accusing the administration of treating the previous $6 trillion relief package as a “slush fund” and vowing not to allocate a nickel more without a full accounting of how that money was spent. The even worse news: The sides were unable to reach agreement on a global coronavirus funding package. And that could come back to haunt the country if another overseas variant sparks a new outbreak in the US a la the Omicron pattern, health experts warn.

The good news: Congressional negotiators have cut a deal for $10 billion in additional funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccination in the US. The bipartisan package will enable the federal government to purchase more therapeutics, tests, vaccines, and other supplies, after White House warnings that the COVID-19 money was about to run out.

The bad news: The package is significantly smaller than the $15.6 billion Republican and Democratic lawmakers initially agreed to in March, not to mention well below the $22.5 billion that the White House requested. But talks quickly dissolved, with the Republicans accusing the administration of treating the previous $6 trillion relief package as a “slush fund” and vowing not to allocate a nickel more without a full accounting of how that money was spent.

The even worse news: The sides were unable to reach agreement on a global coronavirus funding package. And that could come back to haunt the country if another overseas variant sparks a new outbreak in the US a la the Omicron pattern, health experts warn.