Trump administration seeking to block funding for CDC, contact tracing and testing in new relief bill: report

The Trump administration is attempting to block billions of dollars for contact tracing, additional testing and other coronavirus mitigation efforts that would potentially be included in Congress’s next coronavirus relief package, officials involved in the negotiations told The Washington Post.

According to the Post’s sources, the administration is also trying to block billions in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that GOP senators want to give the agency as it continues to battle COVID-19 on the front lines.

The administration also wanted to take out billions of dollars that would go to the Pentagon and State Department to allow them to better combat the pandemic both domestically and internationally, the Post reports.

While the talks were fluid, the officials said, the administration’s stance perturbed some GOP senators, who want the money to stay in the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled this week that Senate Republicans’ version of a new COVID-19 relief package could be unveiled this coming week, as both the Senate and the House return to session.

While House Democrats passed a relief package at the end of May, McConnell has made it clear that the bill would go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate.

It doesn’t appear that the House Democrats and Senate Republicans are anywhere close to having an agreed upon package, and any friction between GOP senators and the White House would only widen the quagmire.

The next potential coronavirus relief bill comes as the U.S. is struggling to fight off a resurgence of COVID-19. 

On Friday, the country reported nearly 76,000 new cases of the virus, a record, and added another 70,831 on Saturday, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

All but a handful of states have implemented mask requirements for its residents while in public.

Almost 3.7 million people have been infected by the virus in the U.S. during the pandemic with nearly 140,000 deaths.

The Hill has reached out the White House for comment.

Updated at 6:34 p.m.

Tags CDC coronavirus pandemic Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Senate Republicans

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