WASHINGTON – Today, Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, released a letter he sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra demanding answers about the administration’s monkeypox response plans. Blunt criticized the administration’s partisan approach and lack of transparency with regard to the information that has been shared with Congress on this issue.
“As the number of confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. steadily climbs, my appropriations staff has tracked and monitored the U.S. response, regularly asking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for cost estimates and projected resource needs for the U.S. response,” Blunt wrote. “HHS has not provided a plan of action, cost estimates, or a supplemental funding request in response to these inquiries.”
In the letter, Blunt cited recent reports that the administration has briefed Democrat leaders about potential response options and cost estimates. Republicans have requested, but have not received, information from the administration regarding a potential supplemental funding request.
Blunt continued, “During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress worked with the Trump Administration to provide funding through five bipartisan COVID-19 appropriations bills. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration has made infectious disease response unnecessarily partisan. If we learned anything from the American Rescue Plan Act and the failed COVID-19 supplemental request this year, infectious disease preparedness and response becomes infinitely more challenging when it is both political and partisan. Please do not make the same mistake with the monkeypox response.”