“We urge Congress to move promptly on this $10 billion package because it can begin to fund the most immediate needs, as we currently run the risk of not having some critical tools like treatments and tests starting in May and June,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote in a statement Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who was negotiating for the Republicans, each released the text and summaries of the deal.
Here’s what’s in the deal:
Vaccines, therapeutics and testing
The deal would funnel $9.25 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, according to the summaries.
At least $5 billion would be spent on purchasing therapeutics, such as oral antivirals. Currently, there is a limited supply of treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, which are provided free of charge to Americans, regardless of insurance coverage.
The federal government has already scaled back on weekly allocations of many Covid-19 therapeutics due to both a lack of demand and a drop in available funding. Distribution of two monoclonal antibody treatments — sotrovimab and bebtelovimab — was scaled back “because Congress has failed to provide additional funding for the Covid-19 response,” a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said in a statement to CNN last month.
In a fact sheet released last month, the White House said the federal government has no more funding to buy additional monoclonals, including a planned order for March 25. It also said it does not have the ability to purchase additional oral antiviral pills beyond the 20 million already secured.
Also, the additional funds from the deal would be used to purchase vaccines, including booster shots, vaccines for children and, potentially, new types of vaccines. The Biden administration has warned that second Covid-19 vaccine booster shots — or a new type of vaccine, if needed — will not be free and readily available to all Americans, if and when they are authorized, without additional funding from Congress.
And the funds would be used to maintain testing capacity so that the manufacturing of at-home tests and lab capacity for PCR tests does not decline during the summer to the point where it can’t be ramped up again in the case of a future Covid-19 surge.
Among the ways to ensure testing is available in the future is for the federal government to purchase testing supplies from manufacturers or to provide funding to maintain state and local testing infrastructure.
Some $750 million would go to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for research, clinical trials and development of vaccines for emerging variants. It could also be used to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity as needed.
Without additional funding, the government will have to wind down some Covid-19 surveillance investments that help it detect the next variant, the White House has said.
Here’s how it will be paid for:
The new bill would use $1.6 billion of unspent funds that were previously given to the US Department of Agriculture by both the Democrats’ coronavirus relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, which was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump in 2020, according to a summary from Senate Democrats.
The new bill would also use $887 million from the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund, which — due to a drafting error in previous legislation — has not been able to use any of the funds without congressional action, according to a summary provided by the Senate Democrats.
CNN’s Katherine Dillinger contributed to this report.