Fauci says officials need more than $22.5B for COVID-19 response
President Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said in an interview aired on Thursday that officials need more than the $22.5 billion that the White House originally requested from Congress for the COVID-19 response.
In an interview aired on “NBC Nightly News,” NBC’s Miguel Almaguer noted to Fauci that the billions of dollars requested by the White House was a “hefty price tag,” asking if all the money was needed.
“I have to tell you, we need more than that,” Fauci answered.
Biden’s chief medical adviser said that officials needed adequate funding in order to study possible future variants.
“We will not be able to do the kind of research to address the inevitable next variant if we don’t get the funding that we’re talking about,” Fauci said.
The top infectious diseases expert made more regular appearances at press briefings and on news programs earlier in the pandemic.
This comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders huddled with Fauci and other administration health officials on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters shortly afterward, Pelosi said that the White House should be seeking $45 billion in new COVID-19 aid instead of the $22.5 billion it had asked for, saying the previous ask would have been used up in only a few months.
“I think they should be double what they asked for, because even when they were asking for like 20-some [billion dollars] it was only going to get us to June,” she said.
Pelosi said on Monday that she hoped to vote on “at least part” of the White House’s requested COVID-19 funding this week. The funding was previously was whittled down to $15.6 billion amid opposition from GOP lawmakers and yanked from a massive government funding bill after Democrats raised objections to an offset provision included in the bill and Republicans balked at adding to the budget deficit.
The White House warned on Tuesday that if new funding was not passed, testing capacity would decrease beginning in a few months, the government would be unable to buy vaccine doses for a modified vaccine or a fourth dose and states would see cuts to their allocations of monoclonal antibody treatments.