Biden Seeks More Money For COVID Than Ukraine Crisis

Written By BlabberBuzz | Sunday, 06 March 2022 12:00
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According to a report, the Biden Administration has called on lawmakers to approve $10 billion to help Ukraine as it attempts to repeal the Russian invasion.

The funds would go toward addressing the growing humanitarian crisis, training the Ukrainian military and reinforcing defenses, protecting the country’s electrical grid, fortifying cyber defenses, and enforcing sanctions on Moscow, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The outlet also noted that the White House had requested $22.5 billion to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic by replenishing public health programs to protect against future variants or a spike in cases.

The funding plea comes as Democratic and Republican lawmakers are haggling over a spending package that they plan to link to an overall deal to fund the government.

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The deadline to avert a government shutdown is March 11. Without a deal, the Administration’s ability to respond to the foreign policy and public health crises could be severely impeded.

White House officials reportedly believe they have enough money to deal with the effects of the waning Omicron surge, yet have warned that more funding is needed for testing, therapeutics, and the production of potential vaccines if a new Coronavirus variant arises.

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Progress on an agreement on funds for Ukraine has hit a “snag,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) revealed this week.

GOP lawmakers are also cautious of providing more funds for the COVID-19 response, questioning whether the additional spending is necessary following the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan spending package was enacted last year.

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According to the Washington Post, the White House has insisted that the Ukraine funds would be considered new emergency aid rather than repurposed money meant for the Defense Department.

As for the COVID-19 funds, the Administration said they would be used for immediate needs with some testing and vaccination programs scheduled to expire this spring.

Still, the White House has warned that more funding may be needed down the line to deal with both the crisis in Ukraine and the pandemic.

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“Given the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine, I anticipate that additional needs may arise over time,” Shalanda Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter addressing lawmakers obtained by the outlet.

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In the same letter, Young expressed that she “anticipate[s] that additional funding will be needed to support the covid-19 response.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has urged lawmakers to unite around delivering aid to Ukraine, warning that “nothing would make [Russian President Vladimir] Putin happier than having Democrats and Republicans divided.”

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