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Uncertainty for Biden’s Covid plan after aid is left out of spending bill

By May, she said, the current supply of monoclonal antibody drugs used to treat Covid will “loop out”. In July, it will run out of another antibody drug, Evusheld, which was recently approved to prevent Covid in people with immune deficiencies. Money is needed this month, she said, to sign contracts with drug manufacturers so that there is no gap in supplies.

“Let me be very clear,” said Mrs. Psaki. “This is an urgent request.”

Over the past two years, Congress has appropriated more than $370 billion in pandemic-fighting assets to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Most of that money has gone to health care providers; less than half, about $140 billion, was for testing, therapies and vaccines.

The government spending chart, obtained by The New York Times, shows that all the money has been spent or has already been discussed. (That includes spending from the Trump administration.) The Biden administration had initially asked Congress for $22.5 billion in additional pandemic aid, including $12 billion to purchase treatments and vaccines and $4.25 billion to support the global pandemic response; Congress reduced the request to $15.6 billion.

A White House spokesman Kevin Munoz warned on Wednesday that if Congress does not allocate more funds, there would be consequences beyond the loss of antibody treatments. He said testing capacity would decline in March and the fund that pays for Covid tests and treatments for tens of millions of uninsured Americans would run out of money by April.

“If we don’t take action now, it will have serious consequences for the American people,” Mr Munoz said.

What happens next is unclear. House Democrats, who switched at the last minute, dropped a plan to vote Wednesday night on a stand-alone bill to pass coronavirus relief, which would be partially offset by some unspent pandemic funds without the state and local support. to touch. Unless the bill is paid in full, it will likely face a dark future in the Senate, where it takes 10 Republican votes to pass most bills.

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