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White House Wants $22.5 Billion for More Covid Funding


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Real Clear Politics

At the beginning of the pandemic, the previous president had a vision – one his scientific advisors urged him to abandon. Not only did Donald Trump want the economy back open, he said that by Easter Sunday of 2020, “you will have packed churches all over the country.” It never happened, at least not on the scale he envisioned.

Two years later, after millions of vaccines have been administered and the virus has receded from its peak, things look very different. A sign of the times: After two years, the White House plans to resume regular public tours. Doors are scheduled to open on Good Friday.

As Biden officials smile about the poetry of that rhyming calendar, the White House is dealing with a political paradox: How to secure more COVID aid from Congress as the administration pivots away from the pandemic. It’s proving to be a hard sell.

The same morning the White House announced a return to business as usual for tourists, the administration raised the alarm about a virus they believe is on the run. Cases are down 95% since the peak of the omicron variant. Hospitalizations have similarly plunged by 85%. More than 215 million Americans are already fully vaccinated. Yet officials warned on a call with reporters Tuesday morning that their pandemic coffers could soon be empty.

“For months, we’ve made clear to Congress, on a bipartisan basis, that the funding for tests, treatments, and vaccines was drying up and that additional funds would be needed,” the official said.

 

How much money do they need? The number administration officials floated was $22.5 billion. And if they don’t get it? White House budgeteers will make trims to the request. They warn, however, that the U.S. won’t have enough boosters or variant-specific vaccines “for all Americans,” according to a fact sheet provided by the administration. They won’t be able to buy monoclonal antibody treatments, either, and the current supply is expected to run out as soon as May. Without a cash infusion, they predict that the testing capacity will collapse.

Governors were warned late Tuesday morning that the administration would be reducing the number of monoclonal antibody treatments by 30% within a week.

Republicans say they aren’t necessarily opposed to more COVID spending. They just want to know where all the other COVID cash went first, as Sen. Richard Shelby explained to Politico. “There’s a doubt that they need this money with a lot of us,” explained the Alabama Republican. “I’ve said this for weeks, a real accounting of the money [already spent on COVID] that the American people deserve and then go from there. If there’s no money left, and it’s not hidden somewhere, and if they show a need, then you got, maybe, a persuasive case.”:snip:

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Where Did $6 Trillion in Covid Funding Go?

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Corruption is “a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy,” said a certain vice president, back in 2014. Now commander in chief, Joe Biden must confront a corruption problem unfolding on his watch: the spiraling costs of misspent Covid funds.

In recent court filings, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has described a “massive fraud scheme” in which nonprofit organizations in Minnesota illegally diverted aid money intended to feed needy kids and used the proceeds “to purchase real estate, cars and other items.” All told, the groups received some $65 million from federal food programs during the pandemic.

While shocking, the incident is by no means anomalous. As Congress has doled out almost $6 trillion in relief funds, crooks and con men have lined up to get their share. They’ve created fake companies, stolen identities, invented employees, misstated their earnings, and otherwise conspired to siphon off taxpayer money. The Secret Service, which has opened more than 900 Covid-related criminal cases, estimates that $100 billion may have been misappropriated.

Even that may be understating the problem. As little as 23% of the $800 billion doled out by the Paycheck Protection Program actually found its way into workers’ pockets. A Department of Labor study estimated that more than $87 billion in emergency unemployment benefits were improperly paid. The Small Business Administration has (among other blunders) disbursed more than $6.2 billion to loan applicants it now suspects of identity theft. Somehow, the Internal Revenue Service managed to issue 2.2 million stimulus checks — worth about $3.5 billion — to dead people.

Only in government could such calamitous neglect be considered business as usual.:snip:

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8 hours ago, Valin said:

th?id=OIP.xXUMOmkahsFwTseHK5IwfAHaEc%26p

 

5 hours ago, Geee said:

Hey - where can I get one of those??

 

I don't know about Wi., but Mn. keeps its in a special sun room in the capital.

  • Haha 1
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