Courtesy of WaPo:
The Trump administration is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, people involved in the talks said Saturday.
The administration is also trying to block billions of dollars that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions more for the Pentagon and State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad, the people said.
The administration’s posture has angered some GOP senators, the officials said, and some lawmakers are trying to push back and ensure that the money stays in the bill. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal confidential deliberations, cautioned that the talks were fluid and the numbers were in flux.
The negotiations center around a bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is preparing to unveil this coming week as part of negotiations with Democrats on what will likely be the last major coronavirus relief bill before the November election.
Negotiations are expected to kick off with increased urgency because of the rapid growth of cases — and steady uptick in deaths — in the United States. The number of cases began falling in April but accelerated sharply after Memorial Day, shattering records in the past two weeks.
In late May, there were fewer than 20,000 new cases of coronavirus reported each day. On Friday, there were more than 76,000 new cases reported.
One person involved in the talks said Senate Republicans were seeking to allocate $25 billion for states to conduct testing and contact tracing, but that certain administration officials want to zero out the testing and tracing money entirely. Some White House officials believe they have already approved billions of dollars in assistance for testing and that some of that money remains unspent.
Yeah, I don’t think any of that testing money went unspent, I mean have these people not been paying attention to the number of people who are showing up positive for the Coronavirus?
Now Mitch McConnell is going to find himself either having to side with Trump on this and risk his chances for reelection or defy the wishes of the Trump White House and push this through and risk his chances for reelection.
I mean it is almost as if the Trump folks were writing the Lincoln Project advertisements for them.