Senate nears $10B COVID-19 aid deal

Senate Democrats and Republicans are nearing an agreement on a roughly $10 billion package of COVID-19 relief, according to The New York Times. 

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said March 31 that Republicans had reached an "agreement in principle" with Democrats on the $10 billion package, according to CNN. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said key senators are close to a deal that would garner bipartisan support. 

Republican senators pitched the $10 billion package March 30, scaling back a $15.6 billion deal that was previously negotiated, according to Politico. About half of the $10 billion would be spent on therapeutic medicines to treat COVID-19. The Biden administration could use the remaining funds for a variety of initiatives, including researching long COVID-19, Politico reported March 31.  

Lawmakers are under pressure from the Biden administration to pass additional funding. Without new funding, the administration is scaling back the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments to states, and a program to pay for COVID-19 treatments and tests for the uninsured is out of funds.

Mr. Romney said the goal is to pass the bill next week, according to CNN.

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