Dems add $24.4 billion in emergency COVID spending to health bill

Dems add $24.4 billion in emergency COVID spending to health bill
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House Democrats on Monday unveiled a health spending bill that included $24.4 billion in emergency spending related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill would add $5.5 billion to the National Institutes of Health budget, a 13 percent increase, $5 billion of which would be in the form of emergency spending "to improve capacity at research institutions." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would get $9 billion in emergency supplemental spending.

It also included backup funding for state unemployment insurance and created a $5 billion public health emergency fund to help the Department of Health and Human Services respond quickly to future public health threats.

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"This legislation builds upon our previous emergency and supplemental response packages and represents our critical work to defeat the coronavirus, not surrender to it," Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroCoronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding Lobbyists see wins, losses in GOP coronavirus bill Public health groups denounce new Trump move sidelining CDC MORE (D-Conn.), who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

The spending would not count toward agreed-upon budget caps.

Congress faces a July 31 deadline to pass a new round of COVID-19 relief on both the health and economic fronts, as a slew of programs from the last relief bill, March's CARES Act, are set to expire.

Senate Republicans have objected to Democratic calls for additional COVID-19 spending in the 2021 funding bills, saying the emergency bills should be the central forum for dealing with them.

The disagreement has stopped the Senate Appropriations Committee from releasing any of its 12 spending bills for next year or even releasing a schedule for marking them up and passing them.