Senate negotiators reach $10B COVID-19 aid deal

Senate negotiators agreed to a $10 billion COVID-19 aid package April 4, repurposing earlier unused COVID-19 funds, according to Politico.

The $10 billion package was pitched by Republican senators March 30, scaling back a $15.6 billion deal that was previously negotiated. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has been working to get 10 Republicans to join  Democrats to get the bill through the Senate, according to The Wall Street Journal. The bill has the potential to pass through the chamber this week.

The White House backed the deal but noted that it is worth much less than their original request for $22.5 billion in COVID-19 relief. 

The bill repurposed billions of unused dollars originally meant for other COVID-19 programs such as initiatives in the Small Business Administration. The funds will allow the U.S. to purchase more tests, vaccines and therapeutics. It does not however include any international aid, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats would seek supplemental funding later to address international relief. 

If passed by the Senate, the measure would still need to be approved by the House, where some Democrats have expressed concerns with the bill over the lack of funding for international relief, according to the Journal.

 

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