Congress braces for Joe Biden's national coronavirus strategy

triblive.com
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WASHINGTON — Congress is bracing for President-elect Joe Biden to move beyond the Trump administration's state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 crisis and build out a national strategy to fight the pandemic and distribute the eventual vaccine. The incoming administration's approach reflects Democrats' belief that a more comprehensive plan, some of
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WASHINGTON — Congress is bracing for President-elect Joe Biden to move beyond the Trump administration's state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 crisis and build out a national strategy to fight the pandemic and distribute the eventual vaccine.

The incoming administration's approach reflects Democrats' belief that a more comprehensive plan, some of it outlined in the House's $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill, is needed to get the pandemic under control. Republicans have resisted big spending but agree additional funding is needed. With the nation on edge but a vaccine in sight, the complicated logistics of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans raise the stakes on the major undertaking.

"We have an incredible challenge on our hands," said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, which is approaching the anniversary of its first reported case of the virus last January.

A vaccine can only go so far, Murray warned, without a distribution plan. "A vaccine can sit on a shelf. A vaccination is what we're talking about," she said.

As Congress weighs a new round of covid-19 relief, federal officials say doses of the vaccine could begin shipping within a day of Food and Drug Administration approval. Three pharmaceutical manufacturers — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — have announced early results. But the rollout faces a patchwork of state plans, a transitioning White House and potential backlash from vaccine skeptics, despite the rising U.S. death toll of nearly 260,000 people.

Biden said Tuesday on NBC's "Nightly News with Lester Holt" that his team has started meeting with covid-19 officials at the White House on how to "get from a vaccine being distributed to a person being able to get vaccinated."

Democrats have been sounding the alarm that the Trump administration's delay in granting Biden's team access to transition…
Associated Press
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