As we continue fighting against rising coronavirus numbers, the White House is reportedly attempting to block billions of dollars of funding that would provide for further testing and tracing capabilities — including funding that would go directly to the Center for Disease Control.
A second coronavirus relief package was always going to involve a contentious debate between Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The House passed their idea of what we need back in May, but Mitch McConnell already made it clear it would never fly in the Senate. But now, anonymous sources are alleging the Trump administration is preemptively pushing back against Senate Republicans’ attempts at a new package, causing further tensions.
According to The Washington Post, Trump wants to block billions in funding that would go to the CDC, the Pentagon, and the State Department, all for the purpose of allowing them to better fight COVID-19.
This news comes on the heels of the quiet change instructing hospitals to begin submitting coronavirus numbers directly to the Department of Health, bypassing the CDC, which had previously been collecting and monitoring public health data related to COVID-19. The Trump administration has been publicly critical of the CDC, much like Trump had been of the World Health Organization, before announcing that the United States would withdraw from the group entirely.
The White House is also allegedly attempting to zero out any funds that would potentially be allocated for testing and tracing COVID-19, despite testing still not being as easily available as some feel it should be, and the turn around time between testing and results being upwards of seven days in some areas.
Trump has repeatedly gone on record insisting that the only reason there are so many COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is that there has been so much testing.
“Think of this, if we didn’t do testing, instead of testing over 40 million people, if we did half the testing we would have half the cases,” he said at a recent press conference. “If we did another, you cut that in half, we would have, yet again, half of that. But the headlines are always testing.”
While it’s obviously completely illogical that the number of cases would go down simply because we stopped testing, there would certainly be a less accurate record of how many new cases the U.S. has gained on any given day. And the Trump administration loves the ability to deny anything that goes against the reality they want to present to the world, so a reduced number of confirmed cases would ultimately work in their favor, in that sense.
WaPo’s sources make it sound as though the GOP isn’t happy with the White House’s demands for the upcoming coronavirus relief package, and the whole thing could make it even more difficult for Senate Republicans and Democrats to pass something quickly as they return to the floor next week.