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Lankford Wants Answers From Biden Administration on COVID Relief Spending

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator James Lankford (R-OK) led Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) in a letter to Shalanda Young, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asking for details on how the nearly $6 trillion in COVID-19 funding is being spent. The Senators asked specifically about funding no longer protected by the Hyde Amendment. During the budget debate for the Democrats’ reconciliation bill, Lankford introduced an amendment to uphold Hyde protections that ban taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions. He expressed deep disappointment in Democrats’ desire to force Americans to pay for abortions during a HSGAC business meeting  to consider Ms. Young’s nomination.

The Senators wrote, “Over the past year, Congress has passed nearly $6 trillion dollars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through five bipartisan bills that received at least 90 votes in the Senate and one reconciliation bill that passed without any Republican support in either chamber.”

They continued, “In order for this money to have the impact Congress intended, it is imperative that every dollar is used to help Americans harmed by the pandemic. As members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, it is our responsibility to ensure that federal agencies are operating effectively and efficiently as they carry out the laws passed by Congress.”

You can read the full letter HERE or below:

Dear Ms. Young:

Over the past year, Congress has passed nearly $6 trillion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through five bi-partisan bills that received at least 90 votes in the Senate and one reconciliation bill that passed without any Republican support in either chamber. In order for this money to have the impact Congress intended, it is imperative that every dollar is used to help Americans harmed by the pandemic. As members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, it is our responsibility to ensure that federal agencies are operating effectively and efficiently as they carry out the laws passed by Congress.

Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. The pandemic and subsequent lock-downs and restrictions caused mass unemployment, permanently closed many small businesses, prevented children from attending school in person, and pushed the limits of our health care system. In response, Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses, provided billions of dollars for K-12 education to get kids back in school, provided billions more for the development and distribution of a vaccine, and sent stimulus checks directly to millions of Americans.

Most of these spending bills were designed to provide targeted relief in order to shorten the pandemic and its effects, save American lives and American jobs, and allow us to return to normal life. To ensure these funds are being spent in accordance with those goals, please provide the following by May 10, 2021:

  1. A complete list of each grant program funded by each agency and used to distribute funds authorized by any of the six COVID-19 response bills.
  2. A complete list of each individual grant recipient over $1 million and the total amount  received to date.
  3. For grants funding specific programs:

a.       The name of the program funded.

b.      The goal of the funding program.

c.       The metrics used to track progress toward that goal.

      4. For grants intended to promote equity:

a.       The name of the program.

b.      The name of the recipient or sub-recipient.

c.       The equitable goal intended to be achieved.

d.      The metrics used to measure the success of that goal.

      5.The total amount of money provided to each agency through any of six COVID-19                 response bills.

a.       The amount of money in each program that has been allocated.

b.      The amount of money allocated for administrative costs.

c.       The amount of money in each program that is still available as of the date of this letter

      6. The amount of money provided to each agency through any of the six COVID-19  response bills for use in developing and purchasing the vaccine.

a.       The amount of money for this purpose that has been allocated.

b.      The amount of money for this purpose that is still available as of the date of this letter.

7. The amount of money provided to each agency through any of the six COVID-19   response bills for use in distributing and administering the vaccine.

a.       The amount of money for this purpose that has been allocated.

b.      The amount of money for this purpose that is still available as of the date of this letter.

      8. The amount of money provided to each agency through any of the six COVID-19  response bills for use in developing or administering a COVID-19 test.

a.       The amount of money for this purpose that has been allocated.

b.      The amount of money for this purpose that is still available as of the date of this letter 

      9. A detailed explanation justifying the Administration’s decision:

a.       To increase the Medicare reimbursement rate for vaccine administration from $28  per vaccine dose to $40 per vaccine dose.

b.      The data used to make this decision.

      10. The amount of money provided to each agency through any of the six COVID-19 response bills each agency has re-programed or intends to re-program.

      11. Regarding funds authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, please list the   funding programs:

a.       For which organizations that promote, provide, or perform abortion services are   eligible.

b.      That may subsidize abortions.

c.       That may subsidize healthcare plans that cover abortions.

d.      That may directly promote, provide or perform abortions. 

12) Specific steps you are taking to ensure that funds previously enacted under COVID relief bills that included restrictions on its use as it pertains to abortions are kept separate from all funding passed under the American Rescue Plan.

13) The full list of grant recipients, sub-recipients, or organizations that used dollars provided under the American Rescue Plan, which included more than $387 billion that under previous appropriations included Hyde restrictions, to promote, provide, or perform abortion services. This list should include the full list of grant recipients and sub- recipients that promote, provide or perform abortions, the funding levels each organization received, and how many abortions were performed at each organization with the funding.

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