White House continues push for COVID funding as fall approaches
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - As many Americans attempt to return to normalcy despite the pandemic, health experts are warning against becoming too relaxed. The White House has its eyes on the coming months as COVID-19 continues to evolve. Part of their message is geared toward Congress as the administration looks for more pandemic funding.
“We’re making really tough choices that I do not like making,” said Dr, Ashish Jha, the White House COVID Czar.
Dr. Jha says the White House recently repurposed existing funds to get the country through the summer with vaccines, testing, protective equipment and more. But he says as the weather turns cold, more money will be necessary to have enough vaccines for every American.
“You always have to be purchasing these things four to six months in advance is the thing. You can’t wait until the last minute,” said Dr. Jha.
Dr. Jha is fearful lawmakers are joining some Americans in turning their attention away from the virus. This, despite spikes in infections around the country with the circulation of the ultra-transmissible BA. 5 variant. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) supports another funding package from Congress.
“Let us all pay attention to how serious this pandemic still is,” said Hirono.
Months ago the White House asked for $22 billion in additional aid from Congress. Dr. Jha says the current dollar amount is still being finalized. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) argues there is no need for any additional money.
“We literally put $3 trillion into the economy just a year ago,” said Biggs.
Biggs claims he is not hearing of shortages of testing or vaccines, despite health experts warning of potential shortages down the line. He believes this is an effort to put more money into the economy before midterm elections in November.
“I just don’t see that there’s an appetite right now to go forward with this, at least from the Republican side of this,” said Biggs.
A group of Democratic senators introduced a $21 billion COVID funding package in late July. It is unclear when or if it will come up for a vote in the Senate.
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