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Is the Pandemic an Emergency or Not? The Biden Administration Is Sending Mixed Signals.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Biden administration will stop sending free COVID-19 tests this week and is blaming Congress for the lack of funds. 

"Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn't provided additional funding to replenish the nation's stockpile of tests," the Department of Health and Human Services said on its COVID.gov website. 

Lawmakers have quarreled over how much to pay for additional pandemic funding and where the money would come from. 

Republicans want additional covid funding to be paid for by repurposing money that Congress has already approved. But Biden and congressional Democrats want additional money - up to $22.5 billon - to pay for more vaccines, tests and therapeutics.  

In March, Democratic congressional leaders dropped a $15.6 billion in covid money from an overall spending bill after some House Democrats objected to paying for it by repurposing some stimulus funds that were awarded to states as part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan.

While vaccines are supposed to be free, the federal government ran out of money this spring to offer reimbursements for shots for uninsured people. (Daily Mail)

According to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, 600 million tests have been given to Americans, and the "limited supply" that's left is being reserved for the fall, when another wave of infections is expected.

According to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, it doesn't look like funding will be coming anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration justified spending billions on a student loan bailout by citing the HEROES Act, a post-9/11 law that allows for the modification of federal student loan rules amid "a war or other military operation or national emergency, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona explained

The administration needs to get its messaging straight. 

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