The Senate passed H.R. 6617, the Further Additional Extending Government Funding Act, on Feb. 17 to extend the existing continuing resolution (CR) through March 11. The Senate passage by a vote of 65-27 followed House passage on Feb. 8 [refer to Washington Highlights , Feb. 11]. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law on Feb. 18.
Separately, on Feb. 15, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra outlined for lawmakers $30 billion in additional funding needs for the Department of Health and Human Services to address near-term COVID-19 challenges. The request reportedly included funding to procure more countermeasures; to anticipate future variants by researching additional COVID-19 vaccines and developing public health surveillance infrastructure; to support testing, care, and vaccinations for uninsured patients; and to strengthen the nation’s testing capacity.
Senate Appropriations Chair Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) has indicated that he does not anticipate including emergency funding for COVID-19 as part of the omnibus for Fiscal Year 2022 regular appropriations, but that a supplemental spending bill could potentially advance as a separate package on its own. Some Republicans have expressed interest in better understanding how resources have been expended to date before providing additional emergency funding for COVID-19.