Monkeypox funding plans are under threat from coronavirus aid in traffic jams
A potential White House request for billions of dollars in monkeypox funding could find itself trapped in a Capitol Hill standoff over additional Covid-19 dollars.
Lawmakers have struggled for most of this year to agree on new funding for Covid-19 pandemic programs that the White House says are running out of money. Bringing their attention to a new health threat could prove even trickier.
“The fact that Congress hasn’t had the stomach to fund Covid – which we know we need that money for” – could mean delays in getting money for monkeypox as health services Public health are grappling with two major epidemics, said Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.
The Biden administration has estimated in Congress that it may need about $7 billion to respond to the growing monkeypox epidemic, according to The Washington Post.
There are now nearly 3,600 cases in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These numbers will likely increase as increased testing capacity detects more cases.
“The monkeypox outbreak is bigger than people realize,” Benjamin said. “We’re going to see an increase in reports about this because now people are aware of it.”
A Democratic aide and key senators said they had not received a request from the White House, a formal step that usually kicks off funding requests. That means there probably won’t be any action until at least September, after Congress’s summer recess.
“I’ve heard of a monkeypox czar and we have a lot of agencies that should have filled in the blanks on that, but I haven’t seen any advice yet,” Burr told Bloomberg Government. .
“I had a discussion. I’m open to any further input from the administration as to what they would like to see Congress do,” Blunt said Tuesday when asked in the room about monkeypox. Blunt’s office provided the audio of his comments to Bloomberg Law.
The Biden administration has repeatedly warned that it won’t have enough money to provide Covid-19 boosters to everyone in the fall without additional funding.
Senators struck a bipartisan deal in April to spend $10 billion on Covid resources and to offset the cost by rescinding previously earmarked funds. But the measure has languished amid a fight against the planned end of the Title 42 pandemic immigration policy, and some of the proposed $10 billion in “remunerations” has already been spent.
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Still, funding for monkeypox can go through Congress if added to a broad budget reconciliation bill or existing appropriations bill, Benjamin said.
Senate Democrats are trying to pass legislation in the coming weeks allowing the government to negotiate with drugmakers and expand Obamacare premium subsidies, as well as other energy and climate measures — a package that some lawmakers have considered for pandemic funds, Sen.
Senate Majority Leader
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The Biden administration and Congress must ensure the country has sufficient resources to respond to this growing epidemic, said Ellie Dehoney, vice president of policy and advocacy for Research! America. The White House, for its part, must provide details on what it needs and any funding gaps, she said.
“It’s going to be very difficult to achieve that if the administration doesn’t provide a really clear accounting,” Dehoney said. “After that, we need Congress to find and provide those dollars.” She urged Congress to prioritize that funding in August, or immediately in September.
Benjamin said he was confident Congress would eventually provide funding. “I just hope it’s enough, and fast enough, that we really start to get our hands on it,” he said.
Once the money is allocated, it still takes months for it to reach the people who really need it, Benjamin said.
Ashish K. Jha, the White House Covid-19 coordinator, said the White House has a robust and comprehensive strategy to fight monkeypox by scaling up vaccine supply, production and distribution, expanding access to testing and treatment and reaching the communities most affected by the virus.
He did not mention his intention to ask Congress for additional funds during a press briefing at the White House on July 25.
“We continue to take this virus seriously,” Jha said. “We not only continue to be aggressive, but we continue to step up our response to this virus and protect the communities in the United States that have been most affected by monkeypox.”
But disease threats are coming at a faster and more furious pace, Dehoney said. “If it’s not done, we’re sitting ducks,” she said. “It’s not a good thing to do. It’s a survival strategy.”