“We do have enough current vaccine supplies, both at the state and pharmacy levels, as well as other access points across the nation and our central inventory for additional doses if they are required this spring for our most vulnerable populations, including seniors,” Jeff Zients, Biden coronavirus response coordinator, said.
“We do not have enough doses later on in the year, when the science says all Americans should receive a booster or if we need a new batch of the vaccine, a variant-specific vaccine,” said Zeints.
So, did the government spend all $5.1 trillion of COVID relief money authorized by Congress? Not exactly. There’s still an unknown quantity of that cash out there that hasn’t been spent.
According to the Biden White House, “ninety-three percent of the remaining funds from the American Rescue Plan has been distributed or obligated to certain grantees or organizations, such as states and localities.”
It’s conceivable that this money has already been spent. In fact, before, Congress relocated funds from pandemic relief. Only about $550 billion of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure initiative was new spending. The bill included roughly $13 billion in “repurposed” emergency relief funding — money that had previously been allocated but was subsequently determined to be needless for the purpose for which it was intended to be spent.
Instead of searching for cash in the $5 trillion that has already been allocated, Biden suggests brand new spending be authorized for something that most Americans will never use.
This comes at a time when inflation is already sky-high and the economy is in danger of overheating.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) recently rose 4.2 percent from a year earlier, the biggest annual jump since 2008. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called “core” CPI rose 3.0 percent, the sharpest 12-month increase since 1992.