Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate
Trump's former chief of staff hits coronavirus efforts: 'We still have a testing problem'
Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney penned an op-ed Monday calling for the next stimulus package passed by lawmakers to focus on combatting the novel coronavirus, swiping at U.S. testing efforts.
"Any stimulus should be directed at the root cause of our recession: dealing with Covid," Mulvaney wrote in the CNBC op-ed. "I know it isn't popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country. My son was tested recently; we had to wait 5 to 7 days for results. My daughter wanted to get tested before visiting her grandparents, but was told she didn't qualify. That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic."
The swipe at testing comes as President Trump has repeatedly praised testing efforts, attributing a spike in cases nationally to more testing.
"If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any," Trump said during a White House event in June highlighting administration actions to help senior citizens.
Trump shared a similar message again on July Fourth, tweeting: "Cases, Cases, Cases! If we didn't test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases. If you test 40,000,000 people, you are going to have many cases that, without the testing (like other countries), would not show up every night on the Fake Evening News."
The op-ed by Mulvaney comes as a number of states, including California, Florida, Texas and Arizona, see record-breaking cases of the virus and as Congress debates what its next relief bill will include.
House Democrats passed their initial offer for a fifth bill in May. That proposal totaled nearly $3 trillion, including roughly $1 trillion in additional aid for state and local governments, another round of stimulus checks and expanded nutrition assistance. That bill has stalled, however, and lawmakers are debating on how to pass a bill before September.
Both parties seem to be in agreement that funding for increased coronavirus testing should be part of the bill, but are butting heads over unemployment benefits, another round of stimulus checks and other measures responding to the pandemic.