White House Warns Congress of Lack of COVID-19 Response Funds
This week, the White House sent a letter to Congress reiterating the need for additional emergency COVID-19 response funds and outlining consequences of a lack of funding. According to the White House, if funds are not appropriated by Congress soon, the U.S. will be unequipped to handle a future pandemic surge.
Specifically, if immediate funding is not provided, the Biden-Harris Administration identifies the following consequences:
- Inability to secure sufficient booster doses and variant-specific vaccines, if needed
- Scaling back, then ending, the uninsured program that reimburses providers for testing, treating, and vaccinating uninsured individuals
- Ending the purchase of monoclonal antibody treatments and scaling back allocations to state and territories
- Stopping testing, vaccine, and treatment efforts, such as purchasing oral antiviral pills and maintaining domestic testing capacity
- Scaling back planning purchases of preventive treatments for immunocompromised persons
- Winding down some COVID-19 surveillance efforts, thereby reducing the ability to rapidly identify and assess emerging variants
- Damage to global vaccination and COVID-19 treatment efforts
While U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has committed to passing legislation to provide additional COVID-19 response funds, it is not clear whether or when Congress will approve additional funds. The letter from the White House to Speaker Pelosi is available here.