No matter how ambitious or forward-thinking the Biden Administration tries to bill itself as, it cannot shake the stench of incompetence that surrounds every initiative it heads up. Two weeks ago, President Biden proclaimed that his COVID-19 national testing failure was, in fact, not one. On January 3, he did a 180-degree pivot on a call with the National Governors Association by saying, “If we had known, we would have gone harder, quicker if we could have.” That statement should earn him a handful of Pinocchio’s by the Washington Post.
Like the idiom of “follow one’s nose,” it’s time to sniff out the mismanagement. To start, let’s turn back the clocks to May of last year. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) diverted more than $2 billion that was intended for public health initiatives – one of them being COVID testing – to cover the costs of unaccompanied immigrant children at the southern border. If President Biden had upheld the Remain in Mexico policy from day one, continued construction of the border wall, and had he not watered down the Title 42 COVID-19 order for migrants, those children would not have been trafficked across in the first place. Indeed, his failed border policies are taking away valuable resources from our public health initiatives.
To add insult to injury, $850 million of those funds were allocated by Congress to strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile. To make matters even worse, another $850 million was diverted away from expanding COVID testing. Yes, the Biden Administration was caught with its hands in the cookie jar.
Remember the $2 trillion that was fast-tracked through Congress over the past year to allegedly address the impact of COVID-19? Republicans uncovered that less than 9% of that spending went to public health initiatives. In hindsight, it’s evident that even 9% was just too much for the Biden administration to swallow. Diverting those public health funds, albeit a small sliver, to tamper down the impacts of the administration’s self-inflicted border crisis is the textbook definition of incompetence and it has now robbed North Carolina, and the entire country, of testing. When you bite off more than you can chew, this is the result you can expect.
Fast forward to the present day. North Carolina is facing a testing shortage borne out of this administration’s inaction. From the mountains to the coast, counties and local municipalities are finding that they do not have enough testing kits to meet the demands of their citizens. This comes after Biden pledged to distribute over half a billion at-home testing kits to combat the Omicron variant. The debacle we are facing is a national disgrace, and the blame falls upon his shoulders.
Families across North Carolina deserve more than the short end of the stick. They deserve good governance, commonsense action on issues that impact their livelihoods, and a steadfast commitment to seeing things through. President Biden has failed to even check one of those boxes. When Republicans regain control in Washington, we won’t let these missteps be pushed under the rug and forgotten.
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is Republican Leader of the House Committee on Education and Labor.