Senate interim bill moves forward, but leaves COVID-19 funding behind

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A palliative in the Senate finance bill cut more than $27 billion in aid for COVID-19 and monkeypox programs, dealing another blow to the Biden administration after Congress failed to advance multiple COVID-19 funding programs since 2021 .

The funding bill, intended to avoid a government shutdown, advanced in a 72-23 vote on Tuesday night. It must approve a final vote in the Senate, as well as a vote in the House of Representatives before landing on President Biden’s desk for signature.

HHS has sounded the alarm because it had received no federal funding since last year as it battled both monkeypox and COVID-19. In August, HHS announced that funding for free COVID-19 vaccines could run out as early as January, adding that the agency had not received funding for “more than 530 days.”

More than $22 billion in COVID-19 funds were cut from a previous interim spending package in March, down from the $30 billion in federal funding originally requested. And in April, Democrats torpedoed a $10 billion bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill in the Senate over a proposed immigration amendment.

While not advancing COVID-19 funding, the bill extends two rural hospital programs until Dec. 16. expenses.

The programs increase payments to hospitals that have higher costs compared to inpatient payment rates and few Medicare patients.

The bill also includes more than $12 billion in funding for Ukraine, $2.5 billion to address damage from the New Mexico wildfires, and $20 million for water supplies. drinking water in Jackson, Mississippi.

Norman D. Briggs