In a separate statement, Romney called for the legislation to receive broad bipartisan support and added that he was “willing to explore a fiscally responsible solution to support global efforts in the weeks ahead.”
Lawmakers are pushing to push through the aid package before the end of the week, when both chambers are due to leave for a two-week break. It’s unclear whether there will be enough support for such a quick timeline, given that Senate Democrats aim to confirm Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court as early as Thursday.
Several House Democrats have also expressed frustration over the omission of global vaccine assistance, which is central to Mr. Biden’s strategy to reduce vaccine inequity and limit the impact of the upcoming variant of the coronavirus.
“Without global funding for immunization, we simply aren’t tackling the COVID problem,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on Twitter. “A deal without global aid funding and a real plan to invest the money we need will run into problems in the House.”
Some Democrats, however, said the urgent need to provide domestic aid was enough to warrant their support.
“I understand that national public health spending is also urgently needed, and so I intend to vote for this bill,” said Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware and one of the negotiators, in a press release. “However, this is only a partial step, and I will be pushing my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a robust international funding bill in the coming weeks to address pandemic-related needs and the growing global hunger and food security crisis.”
Recent efforts to pass an initial $15.6 billion Covid package crumbled last month when House Democrats balked at recovering money that had been set aside for state governments in the law of Last year. These funds have remained intact in the current plan.
While access to vaccines has gradually expanded across the world, administering vaccines remains a challenge for a multitude of reasons. According to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.