Comer, Oversight Republicans Probe the Biden Administration’s COVID Test Contract with China
WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and several Oversight Committee Republican lawmakers are launching an investigation into the Biden Administration purchasing $1.3 billion worth of COVID-19 testing kits manufactured in China. Republicans are also conducting oversight of the Administration’s plans to bolster domestic production on infectious disease testing. In a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, the Republican lawmakers are requesting documents and information related to the Biden Administration’s decision to use taxpayer dollars to purchase Chinese manufactured testing materials instead of procuring domestic equivalents. Republican lawmakers are also requesting a briefing on HHS’ plans to grow the U.S. industrial base by procuring U.S. manufactured infectious disease testing.
“Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans are investigating the Biden Administration’s reliance on testing materials and equipment from China instead of investing in U.S. manufacturing. According to multiple reports, the U.S. Government spent nearly $1.3 billion on medical testing kits manufactured in China instead of procuring domestic equivalents. We request documents and information related to the use of taxpayer funds to procure testing materials in order to understand why the Administration chose Chinese manufacturers to the detriment of domestic testing sources. Additionally, we request a briefing on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) future plans to grow the U.S. industrial base by procuring U.S. manufactured infectious disease testing,” wrote the Republican lawmakers.
Since the start of the pandemic, Congress appropriated more than $6 trillion in COVID-19 response funds, excluding the $550 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure package, and another $700 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act. Included in these packages was more than $861 billion in health care spending. According to HHS’ data, the U.S. has invested only $1.375 billion in domestic manufacturing capabilities and raw materials. In contrast, under just one contract, HHS spent nearly $1.3 billion to procure testing kits manufactured in China.
“More than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there has been minimal effort by HHS and the Biden Administration to invest in American jobs and manufacturing. The American people deserve to have their tax dollars spent at home, investing in American infrastructure, American research, and American-made products. Instead, this Administration has spent billions on Chinese manufactured testing kits and materials. We can never have another instance as we did in the early days and months of the pandemic when we found ourselves entirely reliant on Chinese sources for everything from pharmaceuticals to personal protective equipment,” continued the Republican lawmakers.
The letter to Secretary Becerra can be found here.