WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is headed for “a lot of unnecessary loss of life,” the Biden administration says, if Congress fails to provide billions more dollars to brace for the pandemic’s next wave. Yet the quest for that money is in limbo, the latest victim of election-year gridlock that’s stalled or killed a host of Democratic priorities.
President Joe Biden’s appeal for funds for vaccines, testing and treatments has hit opposition from Republicans, who’ve fused the fight with the precarious politics of immigration. Congress is in recess, and the next steps are uncertain, despite admonitions from White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha of damaging consequences from “every day we wait.”
Administration officials say they’re running low on money to stock up on, or even begin to order, the latest vaccines, tests and treatments. Also lacking are funds to reimburse doctors treating uninsured patients and to help poor countries control the pandemic.