PENNSYLVANIA, USA — As the U.S. runs out of money to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House is calling for an additional $22.5 billion dollars from Congress to ensure the relief funds don't run dry.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned the consequences could be devastating if the money doesn’t go through.
“Senior administration officials have held more than three dozen calls and meetings with congress…to communicate our needs so that we can do what Americans can or should expect from their government: protecting them from a once-in-a-generation pandemic."
Americans could feel the impacts of the drained funding soon, as efforts to secure more remain stalled.
If further funding isn’t approved, the U.S. will:
- Cut coverage for uninsured people with testing, vaccines and treatments
- Cut state allocations of monoclonal antibody treatments
- Be unable to purchase more booster shots or antiviral pills aside from what has already been ordered
- Cut research and surveillance of new variants
- Lose sufficient national COVID-19 testing capabilities beyond June
"We've outlined severe and immediate consequences that the United States will face," added Psaki. "…Those consequences are dire."
Meanwhile, a group of 25 Republicans wrote to the White House in early March, questioning the existing pandemic relief.
"Before we would consider supporting an additional $30 billion for COVID-19 relief, Congress must receive a full accounting of how the government has already spent the first $6 trillion," wrote the lawmakers.
This battle for funds comes as China fights its worst COVID-19 outbreak since 2020, and many European countries are seeing rising hospitalizations and case numbers.