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Money allocated for vaccines and other treatments against COVID-19 is running out and Congress must authorize more if the fight against the pandemic is to continue, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra testified on Thursday.
Watch the event in the player above.
“[What] we’re asking for now is to finish the fight on Covid. We are running out of money in that provider relief fund to reimburse claims submitted by all those different types of doctors, hospitals and so forth,” Becerra told the House Budget Committee.
Becerra said that some deadlines for providers to ask for payments for COVID-19 treatments had already passed with the deadline for claims for vaccines arriving on April 5.
He said that until now, the federal government had been pre-paying for treatments such as vaccines and monoclonal antibodies ensuring they were available as needed. However, with funding in question, the U.S. could find itself “at the back of the line” when it came to buying treatments it would need urgently in the future.
Becerra was speaking at the hearing to present HHS’ budgetary needs as part of President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget proposal.
Biden laid out the proposal for the next fiscal year on Monday. He and his Democratic allies touted the budget as focusing on fiscal responsibility, security at home and overseas and investments in social programs to help families afford housing, child care, health care and other costs.
Biden is proposing $2.5 trillion in tax increases over 10 years focused on the highest-income people and corporations. That included $361 billion from a minimum 20% tax on families worth $100 million or more – the top one-hundredth of 1% of earners.
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