Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, laughs as he excursions Kenworth Gross sales in West Valley Metropolis on Nov. 12, 2021. Earlier than the federal authorities spends one other greenback on COVID-19 aid, Romney and plenty of of his Republican colleagues wish to know what occurred to the trillions already on the market. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret Information)
Estimated learn time: 2-3 minutes
WASHINGTON — Earlier than the federal authorities spends one other greenback on COVID-19 aid, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and plenty of of his Republican colleagues wish to know what occurred to the trillions already on the market.
Romney led 35 GOP Senators in a letter Wednesday to President Joe Biden searching for an accounting of how the federal government has allotted taxpayer funds to fight the pandemic.
“Since passage of the American Rescue Plan in February, questions are mounting about the place precisely the extra cash has gone,” the senators wrote.
The Biden administration advised lawmakers final month it might want about $30 billion in further support to fight the coronavirus, because it seems to be to restock key public well being packages with new funds and guarantee it’s ready towards any future variants, the Washington Put up reported final month.
In his State of the Union handle Tuesday, Biden stated the nation wants to organize for brand spanking new COVID-19 variants.
“And, if Congress gives the funds we want, we’ll have new stockpiles of exams, masks, and drugs prepared if wanted,” he stated.
The senators say whereas they’ve supported bipartisan measures to supply unprecedented investments in vaccines, therapeutics and testing, it’s not clear why further funding is required.
“Earlier than we might think about supporting a further $30 billion for COVID-19 aid, Congress should obtain a full accounting of how the federal government has already spent the primary $6 trillion,” they wrote.
Among the many issues senators wish to know is how a lot American Rescue Plan funding stays unspent, how a lot the federal government has spent on vaccines and testing, and the way a lot of the $350 billion made out there to state and native governments has been used so far for vaccines and testing.
Romney and the Republican senators additionally pointed to a Washington Put up investigation that discovered “immense fraud” in using coronavirus funds. The report, the senators wrote, particulars the federal authorities’s “surprising failure” to supply a trustworthy accounting of the way it has spent the cash.
On Tuesday, Biden introduced that the Division of Justice Division will title a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud.
“We’re going after the criminals who stole billions in aid cash meant for small companies and thousands and thousands of Individuals,” the president stated.
Federal authorities have prosecuted a number of Utahns for defrauding the Paycheck Safety Program that Congress created to supply aid to companies amid the pandemic.