According to an administration official, the White House has secured funding to vaccinate children under 5 years old and offer a fourth booster shot to the immunocompromised. Beyond that, however, any other measures would require additional approval from Congress.
The White House says that, of the American Rescue Plan’s $1.9 trillion in funding, just $300 billion remains unobligated, $240 billion of which has been allocated for cities and states already. The remaining funding — approximately $60 billion — is left for use for a specific emergency use by agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Republican lawmakers have said they’ll oppose additional funding to fight the pandemic without guaranteed offsets, a demand one senior administration official told reporters was disingenuous, given previous votes to secure emergency funding under the Trump administration that did not have earmarked offset funding.
But the White House is warning lawmakers that, absent more relief funds, there won’t be sufficient money to subsidize a number of Covid mitigation steps, including programs that provide resources for vaccinations, reimburse providers and insurers for out-of-network treatment, underwrite Covid testing and supply personal protective equipment.
The White House has spent much of the last several weeks amping up its warnings that aspects of the federal Covid-19 response will be curtailed if new funding is not approved, with administration officials speaking in dire terms in a call with reporters last week.