Lawmakers have moved to the brink of clinching a bipartisan compromise to provide a fresh $10 billion to combat COVID-19.
That could set up final congressional approval next week. The price tag was a reduction from an earlier $15.6 billion compromise that fell apart weeks ago after House Democrats rejected cuts in pandemic aid to states to help pay for it.
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is a lead negotiator and he says bargainers had reached an agreement in principle on a package that would be completely paid for. The new money would be used to purchase vaccines, treatments and tests, which the administration says are running low, even as the more transmissible omicron variant BA.2 spreads.
Sen. Romney said on Thursday that Republican lawmakers had arrived at an "agreement in principle" with Democrat lawmakers on the multi-billion dollar package.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor that both sides were “close to a final agreement that would garner bipartisan” support for the bill.
“We are working diligently to finalize [the] language of scoring and the final agreement on what should be funded in the final COVID package both domestic and international,” he said. “As a sign of good faith, and to encourage us to come to a final agreement, I will reschedule today’s procedural vote to a later time,” Schumer continued.