House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday dinged a Senate Republican push to tie billions in pandemic aid to a vote on overturning the Biden administration’s move to end pandemic-era border restrictions, reupping calls for the upper chamber to pass the billions in stalled funding.
“There’s no use holding it up to blackmail as the Republicans are trying to do,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’re working on it. We’ll find a way.”
President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have pressed to enact $10 billion in new Covid spending that’s been stalled on Capitol Hill for months, with administration officials mulling tough trade-offs in the pandemic response if the impasse lingers.
Senate Republicans have been pushing for a vote to reverse Biden’s move to roll back the public health-related border constraints, known as Title 42. Some top Senate Democrats have said they’re willing to give Republicans the vote to shake loose the pandemic money, but there are concerns that a vote could succeed.
Asked about linking border with Covid aid, Pelosi said Biden “made the right decision” to roll it back the policy.
“I don’t know why 42 would be on it. It has nothing to do with it,” Pelosi said.
After backing off on attempts to pass it as part of government funding legislation in March, Democrats sought to enact the pandemic aid alongside $40 billion in assistance for Ukraine, which passed the House last week but has since hit roadblocks in the Senate that will push its passage into later this week.
Democrats elected to drop efforts to link the two with Ukraine aid quickly dwindling and GOP resistance to extra pandemic money, though the Ukraine aid bill remains stalled in the Senate. (It is expected to pass this week.)
Pelosi hit Republicans for holding up the pandemic aid amid concerns over new variants and the nation surpassing one million deaths from the coronavirus.
“You would think that Republicans would take that into consideration,” she said.
“They couldn’t pass the Ukraine bill with the senators going over to Ukraine empty-handed with a promise,” Pelosi added, referencing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s visit to Kyiv during the weekend. “We passed the bill.”