Senate Reaches Agreement on Bipartisan COVID-19 Supplemental Funding Bill

April 05, 2022

Yesterday, the Senate indicated that they reached an agreement on a $10 billion bipartisan emergency supplemental funding bill for the federal COVID-19 response. The bill has yet to receive a vote in the Senate and will then need to pass the House before a two-week district work period starting April 11. Speaker Pelosi released a statement yesterday indicating her support for the deal struck in the House while also committing to work toward future funding for global and domestic efforts.

The full text of the legislation is available. A summary of the agreement is also available.

Outlook

This bill has a high likelihood of passing Congress and getting signed by the President. The Senate has a 60-vote hurdle to clear. This bipartisan agreement was reached in the Senate, leaving the House little time to negotiate or face significant delays due to the upcoming Congressional recess.

Summary:

Senate negotiators wrote the bill in a narrow and limited way to focus funds for domestic COVID-19 response programs. It does not permit HHS to transfer funds to other agencies except the NIH. The offsets to pay for the emergency funding come from recissions from five areas:

  • Small Business Administration: Shuttered Venues Operators Grants, Economic Injury Disaster Loans
  • Department of Agriculture: Unspent CARES and ARP funds
  • Department of Transportation: Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Program
  • Department of Education: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

The bill includes the bipartisan S. 3011, the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act. This bill allows additional flexibility to use The American Rescue Plan Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund for infrastructure and disaster relief and help smaller governments comply with the program requirements. Tribal governments will also have additional time to use CARES Act funds. If passed, the bill would extend the time funds must be spent from Dec. 31, 2024 to Sept. 30, 2026.

The legislative text also includes extensive reporting requirements to the relevant committees at regular intervals on the obligation of these funds until the funds are expended.

Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund

  • A total of $10 billion is allocated to Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to remain available until Sept. 30, 2025 to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including for necessary expenses for the research and development, manufacturing, production, purchase, and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical products, services, and supplies.”
    • Of that funding, $9.25 billion will go to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for necessary expenses of research and development, manufacturing, production, and purchase, at the discretion of the Secretary of HHS for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and supplies necessary to administer these products.
      • No less than $5 billion of the above funds shall be available to develop and research therapeutics.
    • Of the total $10 billion, no less than $750 million shall go toward vaccine research, trials, manufacturing capacity, and procurement.
  • Products produced with these funds may be deposited in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) at the discretion of the Secretary of HHS.