Senators Propose Cutting Global Vaccine Funding in Covid Package

Senators are expected to release a $10 billion coronavirus aid package as early as Monday, as lawmakers scramble to reach a deal before Congress leaves Washington at the end of the week.

The emerging plan is expected to provide funds only for domestic vaccination, testing and treatment efforts, cutting $5 billion in funding for the global vaccination effort that had been previously been proposed, according to two officials familiar with the details who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That global assistance is central to President Biden’s strategy of reducing vaccine inequality and limiting the impact of the next coronavirus variant. But the aid will probably be shelved, after senators spent the weekend haggling over a Republican demand to pay for the entire package by clawing back money Congress previously approved.

The package is expected to be largely paid for by repurposing money that was approved in March 2021 in the $1.9 trillion pandemic law that Democrats pushed through without any Republican votes, according to the officials. More recent efforts to pass an initial $15.6 billion Covid package collapsed last month when House Democrats balked at clawing back money that had been set aside for state governments in last year’s law. Those funds are expected to remain untouched in the current plan.

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