Senate strikes $10B Covid deal
Burgess Everett, Erin Banco, Sarah Ferris
April 4, 2022
Senate negotiators struck a deal on $10 billion in Covid aid on Monday, setting the chamber on a potential course to clear the bill this week.
The compromise reprograms billions in unused money from other coronavirus bills to deliver funding for therapeutics, testing and vaccine distribution. However, it does not include global pandemic aid sought by Democrats and a handful of Republicans, which could become a sticking point when the package comes before the House.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced the deal on Monday afternoon, with Schumer lamenting that what was once supposed to be $5 billion in global vaccine aid is now a goose egg. Romney said he was “willing to explore a fiscally responsible solution to support global efforts in the weeks ahead” in the coming days.
“While this emergency injection of additional funding is absolutely necessary, it is well short of what is truly needed to keep us safe,” Schumer said. “Nonetheless, President [Joe] Biden supports this package and has asked the Senate and House to act quickly.”
The deal is a culmination of nearly a month of congressional handwringing over sending the Biden administration funds to keep fighting the pandemic. House Democrats scrapped a $15.6 billion tranche of money last month, after complaints from members about using money that Congress had previously allocated to their home states. That eventually led to the up-and-down Senate negotiations over the past week.