Feb. 11, 2022

Smith Op-Ed: More COVID Money Won't Cover Up Biden's Failures

After pumping trillions of dollars into the economy over the last year, the Biden Administration is reportedly coming back to Congress to demand even more money to deal with the president’s COVID-19 crisis.

Indeed, 2021 was a year defined by crisis. Inflation reached a forty-year high; the southern border experienced the biggest surge in illegal immigration in a generation; and now America under President Biden is facing a nationwide COVID testing shortage.

The President is desperately hoping that throwing more money at the problem will help clean up – or at least cover up – the mess he has created. But the truth is that this crisis is not about a lack of tax dollars at his disposal, but rather a lack of leadership in the White House, and Democrats’ fundamental dishonesty with the American people about how, when, and where their dollars have been spent to supposedly fight the virus.

One would think more public COVID-19 tests would have been on the list for uses of tax dollars over the last year, but a bombshell was revealed during last month’s Senate hearing with senior White House health officials: the Biden Administration failed to place new orders for COVID-19 tests for the first nine months of the year – from January to September. Meanwhile, as millions of Americans wait in long lines to get tested, large organizations such as Google, the NBA, the NFL, and yes, even Congress, all receive free, on-demand tests.

That decision is indicative of how President Biden – with the backing of Democrats in Congress – has mismanaged and wasted American tax dollars on items having nothing to do with combatting COVID while creating one crisis after another for the American people. To see how, one simply has to follow the money.

On his first day in office, President Biden froze billions of dollars in funding, that was appropriated by Congress, for construction of the border wall, setting off a chain reaction that has now resulted in the worst border crisis in over a generation.

Over in Congress, just a couple of months later, Democrats, at the behest of President Biden, put their full energy into passing trillions of dollars in new spending – fueling an explosion in inflation that has driven up prices Americans are paying at the gas pump and grocery store. They passed President Biden’s $2 trillion Bailout Bill, claiming it was urgently needed for "COVID relief." 

But the truth is that less than nine percent of that bill went to public health spending to combat COVID-19. A sizeable portion of the other 91 percent effectively became a slush fund for state and local governments – meaning millions of dollars are being wasted and misused to build parking lots in South Carolina, plant trees in New York, build golf courses and clubhouses, and even send Japanese citizens living in Japan and convicted prisoners, including the Boston Marathon Bomber, $1,400 stimulus checks. The list goes on. 

But it was not just a rampant waste of taxpayer dollars. President Biden also diverted $850 million from COVID-19 testing, $151 million from building a supply chain for vaccines and therapeutics, and $850 million from replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile to instead pay for the housing of illegal immigrants at the border.

Along with the bare grocery store shelves where meat, bread, and vegetables used to be, millions of Americans are now competing to find at-home COVID-19 tests. Today’s COVID-19 testing crisis is just the latest in an endless parade of failures by the president.

Yet despite such failures, the Biden Administration is now reportedly thinking of asking Congress for even more hard-earned taxpayer dollars under the guise of COVID-19.

It is ridiculous to think that Congress should go along with such a request. The Administration’s own trail of inflationary fueled spending over the last year has hardly emboldened Americans’ confidence that government is a good steward of their tax dollars. What’s worse, Congressional Democrats have been an enabling accomplice for the White House. For the last twelve months, Democrats in control of Congress, under President Biden’s direction, ignored, then dismissed, and are now trying to explain away the problems they allowed to fester. 

Every attempt by House and Senate Republicans to ensure oversight over the Biden Administration’s supposed COVID-19 spending has been stymied or flat out ignored by the controlling party of Congress. But failing to answer simple questions as to how their last "COVID-19" spending binge has seemingly left our country less equipped to handle the virus, is the very reason not another dime of so-called "COVID-relief" dollars should be handed over to this White House, regardless of how noble the cause may sound.

   By Rep. Jason Smith

Read the op-ed here.

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