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Press Release Published: Jan 25, 2022

Comer Again Demands Answers from HHS, OMB After Billions of COVID Funding Diverted to Border Crisis

WASHINGTON — Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) sent letters to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Shalanda Young and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra questioning how President Biden’s border crisis led to the Administration’s decision to divert billions of dollars from critical COVID relief programs. 

“We write today to continue our oversight of the Biden Administration’s failure to adequately secure the southern border, as well as the knock-on effects that failure is having on the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden Administration did not adequately prepare for another surge in COVID-19 cases and diverted critical pandemic funding to pay for President Biden’s self-made border crisis. This mismanagement of taxpayer dollars has contributed to the Biden Administration’s failed COVID-19 response,” wrote Ranking Member Comer. 

“Unfortunately, HHS has thus far failed to respond to our initial letter with documents and information we requested. This information is essential for Committee Republicans to conduct important oversight. As we wrote to HHS last year, ‘it strains credibility that these huge transfers will have no impact on HHS mission critical functions or the Administration’s efforts in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Americans now face an alarming scarcity of COVID-19 tests and as the sheer number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, we demand to know exactly how the border crisis has exacerbated challenges in responding to the pandemic,” concluded Ranking Member Comer.  

In the letters, Ranking Member Comer requests HHS and OMB provide the Committee information on these budget transfers within HHS, the legal authority on which they were based, as well as any analysis of the impact of those budget transfers on the Administration’s COVID-19 response.

Read the letter to HHS here

Read the letter to OMB here