Senators scramble for COVID-19 aid deal

President Joe Biden is amping up pressure on Congress to authorize stalled COVID-19 aid as senators are scrambling to reach a deal before the April 9 congressional recess. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, met with a larger group on March 30 to try to reach a deal on COVID-19 relief, according to Politico. No agreement was reached, but they vowed to continue discussions. 

Senators disagree on how to pay for $15.6 billion in relief aid, which would fund COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and testing. Republicans are requesting that any new relief be covered by a COVID-19 bill passed by Democrats in 2021, according to The Hill

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.

On March 30, the president urged Congress to pass more COVID-19 aid. He said the U.S. does not have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to ensure free access to all Americans in the fall, according to CNBC

"Congress please act. You have to act immediately. The consequences of inaction are severe, they will only grow with time," President Biden said March 30, according to CNBC.

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