While the move clears the way for the House to pass the other government and military funding, it imperils passage of the Covid money in the Senate, where most Republicans are opposed to new spending on the pandemic without first seeing a full accounting of the trillions Congress has pumped out over the past few years.
Pelosi, during a press conference, acknowledged this impasse.
“It’s been very obvious for a long time now that the Republicans in the Senate do not want to do Covid funding, and if they did it, it would have to be paid for by state and local governments,” she said.
The decision to pull the $15.6 billion — less than half of what federal officials argue is needed to keep running testing, vaccination and other Covid programs — from the larger must-pass spending bill without a clear plan to get it passed in the Senate left Biden administration officials deeply frustrated, two people with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO.
Health care advocates are alarmed as well that the funding will pass the House but never make it to President Joe Biden’s desk.
“It will be an uphill battle in the Senate,” predicted Keifer Buckingham, the advocacy director of the Open Society Foundations and a former Capitol Hill aide. “It’s quite unfortunate because the funding for the global response actually has bipartisan and bicameral support, as our foreign aid implementing agencies are nearly out of funds. It really is indicative of the overall politicized nature of the response in this country.”
Adam Cancryn contributed to this report.