Romney announces deal on COVID funding

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today announced an agreement on a deal to provide $10 billion in funding for urgent COVID needs and therapeutics by repurposing unspent COVID funds primarily from the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan. Text of the bill can be found here, the CBO score of the bill can be found here, and a one-pager can be found here.

“From the beginning, Senate Republicans have insisted that any new requests from the Administration for COVID funding be paid for by repurposing existing funds from the nearly $6 trillion in COVID legislation that the Senate has already passed,” Senator Romney said. “Today’s agreement does just that by repurposing $10 billion to provide needed domestic COVID health response tools. Half of the funding will be used for the development and purchase of therapeutics—potentially eliminating the need for future vaccine and mask mandates. Importantly, this bill is comprised of dollar-for-dollar offsets and will not cost the American people a single additional dollar. While this agreement does not include funding for the U.S. global vaccination program, I am willing to explore a fiscally-responsible solution to support global efforts in the weeks ahead. I appreciate the efforts of Leader Schumer, and Senators Blunt, Burr, and Graham during these negotiations, and I believe that the legislation deserves broad bipartisan support.”

Summary of the COVID deal:

FUNDING: $10 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, all in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF).

  • $9.25 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Of which, not less than $5 billion to research, develop, manufacture, produce, purchase, and administer therapeutics and not less than $750 million for research and clinical trials for emerging coronavirus variants and to support the sustainment and expansion of vaccine manufacturing capacity.

PAYFORS: $10 billion in dollar-for-dollar offsets, provided by repurposing unspent COVID funds, will supply $10 billion in funding for therapeutics and urgent COVID needs. CBO has scored each of the offsets as a savings in outlays.

  • SBA Shuttered Venues Operators Grants—$1.93 billion
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans—$900 million
  • USDA ARP and CARES—$1.6 billion
  • Transportation Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program—$2.31 billion
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund—$500 million
  • Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund—$887 million
  • Treasury State Small Business Credit Initiative—$1.873 billion*
    • Note: Rescinds $2.13 billion in budget authority to yield an outlay savings of $1.873 billion