Speed Reads

it seems we have reached an impasse

$10 billion COVID aid package remains stalled in Senate as new wave looms

A fresh round of COVID-19 aid — $10 billion, specifically — is locked in yet another tight Senate standoff as experts meanwhile warn of an impending new wave of infections, The Washington Post reports.

Guided by the White House's reports of dwindling cash, Democrats are aiming to boost "the availability of tests, therapeutics and vaccines nationwide," the Post writes. In recent weeks, the administration's been forced "to slow purchases of critical supplies while shuttering a program that had provided free testing to uninsured Americans" due to dried-up funding.

In holding up the aid agreement, Republicans are demanding Democrats permit a vote on amendments to add a proposal preserving migration restrictions at the nation's southern border. Barring any added legal complications, the Biden administration plans to lift a controversial public health order limiting migration at the border at the end of May, much to several Republicans' chagrin.

"It's very simple: If the White House goes to [Majority Leader Chuck Schumer] and says, 'We'd like to get a vote on this, let the Republicans and Democrats each have amendments,' it'll be voted on and passed," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), head GOP negotiator for the deal, told the Post. "It's being held up for political purposes only."

But for the administration, "the clock is ticking," the Post writes.

"We are looking for every way to get a vote" on the package, said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). "This is an urgent matter."