(CNSNews.com) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have more money from the Trump administration than they’ve had from the Obama administration, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday.
During a Capitol Hill press conference, McCarthy was asked: “Are you concerned that the administration has eliminated some positions dealing with infectious disease? They eliminated the NSC position and also I think scaled back CDC epidemiology around the world.”
“NIH and CDC have more money from this administration than they had from the past administration. In any organization, they—constant improvement, however they streamline that in the process to make sure the outcome, the number one thing I want to see here is the outcome and the safety of the American public,” McCarthy said.
“That’s exactly what the president is looking for as well. That’s why he has provided them more money and being prepared for this situation,” he added.
As CNSNews.com reported, Democrats have criticized the president for cuts to the CDC and NIH. Democratic presidential candidates are calling for both departments to be fully funded in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The president announced this week that he was asking Congress for a $2.5 billion supplemental budget request to deal with the virus, although he indicated he’s willing to provide more funding for the effort.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called the president’s $2.5 billion supplemental budget request “a wise allocation,” but said “his budget request that goes on October 1st to cut the funds for CDC and NIH is completely backwards.”
“We’ve got to anticipate that more research will be needed not just with this supplemental and beyond, and I hope the president will reassess his budget request to Congress,” he said.
During a White House briefing on Wednesday, President Donald Trump was asked how much money he’s willing to give Congress to deal with the coronavirus.
“We’ll we’re going to see, but we'll take care of states because states are working very hard. We have hospitals in states that make rooms available, and they -- they’re building quarantine areas -- areas where you can keep people safely. We're working really well with states. It's a very big part of it,” Trump said.
“So, you know, my attitude: If Congress wants to give us the money so easy -- it wasn't very easy for the wall, but we got that one done. If they want to give us the money, we’ll take the money. We'll just do a good job with it,” he said.
“Your budgets have consistently called for enormous cuts to the CDC, the NIH, and the WHO. You’ve talked a lot today about how these professionals are excellent, have been critical and necessary. Does this experience at all give you pause about those consistent cuts?” a reporter asked the president.
“No, because we -- we can get money and we can increase staff. We know all the people. We know all the good people. It’s a question I asked the doctors before. Some of the people we cut, they haven’t been used for many, many years. And if -- if we have a need, we can get them very quickly,” Trump said.
“And rather than spending the money -- and I’m a business person -- I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When we need them, we can get them back very quickly. For instance, we’re bringing some people in tomorrow that are already in this, you know, great government that we have, and very specifically for this,” he said.
“We can build up very, very quickly. And we’ve already done that. I mean, we really have built up. We have a great staff. And using Mike, I’m doing that because he’s in the administration and he’s very good at doing what he does, and doing as it relates to this,” the president added.