President Donald Trump’s administration is attempting to exclude billions of dollars meant for coronavirus testing and contact tracing from an upcoming Senate bill crafted by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Republicans, The Washington Post reports. White House officials are also reportedly trying to eliminate provisions from the bill for the distribution of billions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pentagon, and the State Department for efforts to fight the pandemic. McConnell plans to unveil the bill in the coming week. Over the past month, the president and his administration have taken an increasingly adversarial stance towards public health officials, at one point releasing a list of predictions Dr. Anthony Fauci had made that proved to be incorrect. At a campaign rally in Tulsa in June, Trump said he ordered public health officials to slow testing so as to curb the reported growth rate of infections.
The Biden campaign called the move to exclude funding for testing “absolutely unconscionable.” Amid a surge of new coronavirus cases and after nearly 140,000 people have already died, said Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates, “Donald Trump is turning his back on his most important responsibility to the American people because, in the words of his own advisers, he ‘doesn’t want to be distracted by’ the worst public health crisis in 100 years.”