White House seeks additional $30 billion in Covid-19 funding
By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
(CNN) -- The Biden administration has informed key lawmakers that it will likely need $30 billion in supplemental funding to continue the fight against Covid-19, a source familiar with the matter said.
Top officials with the Department of Health and Human Services laid out the need to lawmakers on Tuesday, according to the source, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations. The funding would go toward vaccines, treatments, testing and other pandemic preparedness measures.
"HHS leaders regularly engage with Congress about Covid resources, and in a Tuesday conversation with congressional staff, HHS discussed the status of Covid response funds as well as the need for additional resources to support securing more life-saving treatments and vaccines, sustaining testing capacity, and investing in research and development of next-generation vaccines," an HHS spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.
"These resources would help us continue expanding the tools the country needs to stay ahead of the virus and help us move toward the time when Covid-19 will not disrupt our daily lives," the spokesperson said.
White House officials have said the administration still has sufficient funds to carry out its coronavirus response, but have indicated more funding may be necessary in the future.
"While we continue to have sufficient funds to respond to the current Omicron surge in the coming weeks, our goal has always been to ensure that we are well prepared to stay ahead of the virus. So we've been in these ongoing conversations about what those needs might look like," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
To date, the administration has allocated or spent more than 90% of coronavirus funding authorized by Congress through the American Rescue Plan, Psaki said. Most of those funds have been spent on vaccines, therapeutics and testing.
The Biden administration has occasionally faced criticism, including from Senate Democrats, over its pandemic response, including the availability of testing and at-home tests. Meanwhile, House Democrats, especially at the height of the Omicron surge, have floated the idea of pumping more money to boost the economy, though better-than-expected unemployment figures, coupled with concerns about inflation, have quieted those efforts in recent weeks.
This story has been updated with additional background information.
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.