Uncertainty for Biden’s Covid Plan After Aid Is Dropped From Spending Bill



“The funding deal on the table was really focused on procuring commodities — tests, vaccines and treatments — which is critical, but did not include resources to drive consumer awareness and demand so that they reach those who need them,” she said. “We hope negotiators can come back to the table to find a way forward to fund the full range of Covid-19 response needs.”

Some governors, upset that Congress was planning to take away some of their pandemic response money from last year’s $1.9 trillion stimulus law, were happy with Wednesday’s developments. Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, the chairman of the National Governors Association, said he was “very pleased” that the coronavirus supplement was removed from the bill.

Many states already had plans in place to spend the stimulus money that Congress wanted to divert, he said.

“Arkansas does not need to have additional Covid funds,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “But the last thing we need is to have the additional funds taken away that’s designed for broadband and other infrastructure needs.”

Mr. Hutchinson, a Republican, and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat and the vice chairman of the National Governors Association, put pressure on lawmakers to preserve the funding for state and local governments and urged them to “negotiate in good faith” in a letter to congressional leadership on Tuesday.

Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, a Democrat, also sent a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday condemning the plan, which he said would cost his state about $225 million.

Brian Sigritz, the director of state fiscal studies at the National Association of State Budget Officers, said the initial spending plan could have slashed aid for 30 states that had not yet received their full share of the stimulus money. Under the plan, states would have received at least 91 percent of the $195 billion in total funding they were expecting.

And while Ms. Pelosi said earlier on Wednesday that localities would receive “no cuts,” local leaders had also expressed dismay with the proposal to scale back state funding, which they said would have ultimately affected cities and towns.

Emily Cochrane and Benjamin Mueller contributed reporting.


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