Hoyer tells Democrats to prepare for new COVID relief bill

Senate still working out a deal for more COVID-19 aid

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The House of Representatives is gearing up for a second shot at passing more coronavirus relief aid that the White House says is necessary to continue to battle the pandemic. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Democrats Friday "to be ready to consider a supplemental appropriation bill to fund our continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic" in early April. 

"The House will be ready to act on this critical priority as soon as the Senate sends us a bill," Hoyer wrote in a letter to Democrats.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

More coronavirus funding has been a source of contention in Congress. 

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Earlier this month, bipartisan congressional leaders reached a deal on $15.6 billion in new aid to prepare for the next variant and to step up vaccination and therapeutic capacity. 

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had to pull the COVID-19 aid package from the larger $1.5 trillion omnibus legislation because many Democrats were upset with the spending offsets that Republicans had requested that cut previously-approved coronavirus aid to certain states.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The spending legislation needs 60 votes to pass the Senate, requiring GOP support.

Since the COVID-19 aid failed earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has been working with Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on finding a pathway forward, but no deal has been announced.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

"We are trying to get COVID relief," Schumer said Tuesday. "I'm working with Sen. Romney and other Republicans in good faith to find some pay-fors that are acceptable to Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate. We hope to get it done."

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The race to pass more coronavirus aid comes as millions of previous aid is still unspent and money that was allocated went to pet projects instead of public health, according to an Associated Press investigation. 

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.