The Biden administration says several COVID programs will end unless Congress approves an additional $15.6 billion dollars.
The $1.5 trillion dollar package meant to fund the federal government for the current fiscal year includes $13.6 billion for Ukraine, $730 billion in nondefense spending, and $782 billion in defense spending.
That is not enough for the Biden administration, which initially asked for another $30 billion dollars to fund COVID programs it calls “critical”. It reduced the amount to $22.5 billion and again to $15.6 billion after congressional negotiations.
However, Republicans insisted no new money be allocated until previous funding rounds were exhausted, as there is still over $100 billion in unspent funds allocated to state governments. Democrats balked and pulled the provision from consideration altogether.
Democrats now plan to hold a stand-alone vote for the $15.6 billion in COVID aid which has virtually no chance of passing.
The administration says it needs money to secure vaccines and treatments. While cases have plummeted from winter peaks, officials warn the nation must be prepared for another surge as restrictions are eased.