Congress recently passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year 2022, successfully avoiding yet another continuing resolution, and importantly, averting a government shutdown. However, Congress failed to include COVID-19 relief funding in that appropriations legislation. After several House Democrats raised objections to how the additional funding would be paid for, the COVID-19 funding was stripped from the bill before the U.S. House of Representatives voted on it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) vowed that the House would take up a separate bill last week to provide the $15.6 billion in COVID-19 relief that was removed from the omnibus spending package. However, negotiations stalled out last week over the same concerns on how to pay for the additional funding.
The White House has been weighing in heavily with Congress, reiterating that the additional COVID-19 funding is critical to continuing to provide access to affordable COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, masks, and testing. In response, Speaker Pelosi apologized to the administration for the House’s failure to pass the standalone COVID-19 relief bill and promised to continue moving it forward. It is unclear, however, whether there are the requisite 60 votes necessary to pass the COVID-19 relief funding in the Senate, even if it were to pass in the House. ANCOR will continue to monitor and provide updates.
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