WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Health officials warn the country could face a wave of COVID infections in the fall, and with federal COVID funds running out, there is concern that tests, treatments and vaccines could all run out too.
The Biden administration says there will be serious consequences if Congress does not approve more COVID funding.
“More Americans will die needlessly,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says it is important to prepare for what COVID brings next.
“We need to be prepared for the possibility that we will have surge of cases as we get into the fall,” Fauci said. “We may need to boost the population on a yearly basis, I’m not saying that absolutely is the case, but it is entirely conceivable.”
The White House wants $22.5 billion, but senators were only able to strike a deal for $10 billion before those negotiations fell apart.
Republicans are blocking COVID funding over plans for Title 42, the pandemic policy that prevented migrants from seeking asylum, from ending.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) said “it’s truly a national security crisis, as well as a health crisis. Until they get serious about that, I think they’re going to have some rough sledding in Congress on both sides of the aisle.”
However, the White House says COVID funding shouldn’t be held hostage over Title 42 because the decision to end it comes from the CDC.
Meanwhile, officials say more COVID funds are critical.
“To get newer and better boosters for the various different variants that are either with us or that will evolve,” Dr. Fauci said
The White House says without more money some programs, like the government-subsidized testing, vaccinations and treatments, could abruptly end.
“There is no plan B,” Psaki said.