Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has accused the Trump administration of being unprepared for the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, falsely claiming the Trump administration cut funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Biden falsely claimed in an interview on ABC's "This Week" on March 1, "[the Trump administration] cut the funding for the CDC."
Factcheck.org acknowledged the Trump administration did propose funding cuts to the CDC, but funding has actually increased during the Trump presidency as a result of actions taken by Congress.
Fox News reported the Obama administration similarly proposed funding cuts to the CDC, including disaster preparedness programs, even after the Swine Flu pandemic left 274,304 Americans hospitalized and 12,469 dead between April 2009 and April 2010.
(Via Fox News)
In its fiscal year 2013 budget, while Biden was vice president, the Obama administration sought a total funding level of $5.9 billion from the CDC, or a $569 million cut from the 2012 budget of $6.46 billion. In fiscal year 2015, the Obama administration wanted a $414 million cut year-over-year, and again in the fiscal year 2017 budget, the Obama administration looked to eliminate $251 million in CDC funding.
The proposed cuts take into account money budgeted for The Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 to bolster the nation's health care system. When not including that fund, the Obama administration sought CDC cuts in five of its eight years.
Some of the Obama administration's cuts specifically took aim at the CDC's preparedness initiatives.
“Now, President Obama’s 2012 budget calls for paring some of that spending. Funding for a public health emergency preparedness program run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was cut by about $72 million below fiscal 2010 levels in the budget proposal.” The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012.
Those cuts would later intensify. “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) takes a hit of about $270 million in the Obama administration's proposed fiscal year 2014 budget, including significant cuts to biodefense and emergency preparedness programs," according to a 2013 post from the Center For Infectious Disease Research And Policy.
In 2015, amid a measles outbreak, President Obama also called for a $50 million cut in federal immunization funding.
Biden is apparently hard-pressed to find something true over which to attack the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Friday found a majority of respondents approve of President Trump's handling of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The same survey also found the president's job approval rating has climbed to 48 percent, with 46 disapproving. It was the first time the survey found more Americans approve of the president's job performance than disapprove.