WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — As the U.S. surpassed one million COVID deaths, President Biden paid tribute to those that have lost their lives, while pushing for more COVID funding on Thursday.
“One million COVID deaths, one million empty chairs around the family dinner table,” Biden said. “Around the world, many more millions have died. Millions of children have been orphaned. And with thousands still dying every day, now is the time for us to act.”
To help the worldwide fight against the pandemic, President Biden announced that the U.S. is sharing its vaccine technology and helping to increase worldwide access to rapid testing and antiviral treatments, saying that it’s only a matter of time until the next variant or the next pandemic.
“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. So we have to invest now,” Biden said.
The Biden Administration is still asking Congress to approve $22.5 billion in new COVID funding.
“$5 billion of that would be dedicated to continuing our leadership in helping to save lives around the world,” said Vice President Kamala Harris.
The rest of the money would be used to boost the stockpile of tests, vaccines and treatments in the U.S. as the majority of states around the country are currently reporting an uptick in COVID cases, with some areas also seeing more hospitalizations.
However, Republicans maintain that they won’t approve additional COVID funding unless the Biden Administration extends Title 42, the health measure imposed by the Trump Administration to stop most people from seeking asylum due to the pandemic.
“They won’t allow us to re-impose health and security measures at the border,” said Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).