Biden signs budget bill with Ukraine aid but no virus cash

FILE - President Joe Biden signed the $1.5 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act into law...
FILE - President Joe Biden signed the $1.5 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act into law Tuesday at the White House.
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 12:29 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2022 at 3:19 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a bill providing $13.6 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as part of a $1.5 trillion government spending measure that omits COVID-19 aid the White House says is urgently needed.

The COVID spending was a casualty of negotiations over the larger government bill. The White House had asked for $22.5 billion for vaccines and treatment, but that was trimmed during talks to $15.6 billion and ultimately dropped altogether as rank-and-file Democrats rebelled against proposed cuts in state aid to pay for the new spending.

“We have made tremendous progress in our fight against COVID-19 but our work isn’t done,” Biden tweeted Tuesday. “We need Congress to immediately provide $22.5 billion in emergency funding to sustain our nation’s COVID-19 response.”

In a Tuesday call with governors, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients highlighted “severe consequences” that the lack of additional funding would have on the nation’s response, including federal support for states, according to an administration official.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a bill providing $13.6 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as part of a $1.5 trillion government spending measure that omits COVID-19 aid the White House says is urgently needed.

The COVID spending was a casualty of negotiations over the larger government bill. The White House had asked for $22.5 billion for vaccines and treatment, but that was trimmed during talks to $15.6 billion and ultimately dropped altogether as rank-and-file Democrats rebelled against proposed cuts in state aid to pay for the new spending.

“We have made tremendous progress in our fight against COVID-19 but our work isn’t done,” Biden tweeted Tuesday. “We need Congress to immediately provide $22.5 billion in emergency funding to sustain our nation’s COVID-19 response.”

In a Tuesday call with governors, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients highlighted “severe consequences” that the lack of additional funding would have on the nation’s response, including federal support for states, according to an administration official.

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