Trump walks back proposed funding cuts to CDC, NIAID

Since President Donald Trump first took office, his administration has worked to make substantial funding cuts to various programs across the federal government — and their 2021 budget proposal, submitted earlier this year, was no different.

However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the nation, the White House has moved to amend its latest budget proposal to reverse requested funding cuts to two federal agencies that are crucial to the fight against the disease: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), The Hill reports.

Reversing course

In its initial budget proposal for 2021, the Trump administration called for $1.2 billion to be cut from the CDC’s budget as compared to the year before and $451 million to be cut from the NIAID, according to The Hill.

As recently as last week, White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russ Vought stood by that initial proposal during testimony before a congressional committee, insisting that he would not be submitting any changes.

But that appears to have changed at some point over the past weekend, as Vought sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday reversing the proposed cuts to the CDC and NIAID — and even seeking more money for one of the agencies.

“This FY 2021 Budget amendment increases funding for CDC to ensure that the Agency has the resources beginning October 1, 2020, to continue its critical public health mission,” Vought wrote, according to The Hill.

The administration has asked for an increase of about $100 million to the CDC’s budget, raising its total funding to approximately $8.3 billion, The Hill reported. Meanwhile, Trump is seeking to minimize cuts to NIAID, reducing its proposed cut of $451 million to just $11 million.

“We will beat this!”

According to The Hill, Vought also requested in his letter an additional $45.8 billion in funding to help curb the spread of COVID-19, a figure that would dwarf a prior request of $2.5 billion from the White House for that purpose, as well as the $8.3 billion that Congress has already allocated toward the pandemic.

President Trump himself has also taken steps toward fighting the spread of the disease in recent weeks, as NBC News notes, including by limiting travel across U.S. borders and even requesting that several cruise lines “suspend outbound cruises for [30] days,” he wrote in a tweet.

Most recently, Trump has taken to Twitter to thank truck drivers and first responders who are helping keep the nation going through the coronavirus crisis.

“Our proud nation is grateful for the unwavering dedication and sacrifice of our first responders and their families,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “TOGETHER we will beat this!
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