U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senator Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, sent a letter Jan. 3 urging U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to detail the administration’s strategy for solving the nation’s severe shortage of COVID-19 tests as coronavirus cases driven by the omicron variant continue to skyrocket.
Senators Burr and Blunt noted that the nation is facing a shortage of COVID-19 tests despite Congress having provided more than $80 billion over the last two years for the administration to improve and expand testing related capabilities.
“With over $82.6 billion specifically appropriated for testing, and flexibility within the Department to allocate additional funds from COVID-19 supplemental bills or annual appropriations if necessary, it is unclear to us why we are facing such dire circumstances now. It does not appear to be because of lack of funding, but a more fundamental lack of strategy and a failure to anticipate future testing needs by the administration,” the senators wrote. “As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that Congress, and the American people, have an understanding of the administration’s strategy and accounting of how the Department is using taxpayer funding.”