January 14, 2022

Manchin, Senate Colleagues Request Oversight Information from Biden Administration on COVID Preparedness and Testing Access

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin led a letter to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients requesting information from the Biden Administration on its COVID-19 preparedness and failure to take significant steps earlier to increase access to testing. The letter was also signed by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).

“While we fully recognize the productive steps this Administration has taken to encourage vaccination, ensure ready access to vaccines, and increase options to treat the virus, far too many measures – such as increasing access to home-based testing – have been reactive, rather than proactive,” wrote the Senators. “This Administration either knew or should have known that testing shortages were occurring across the country over the past several months, and with the full expectation that the virus would likely mutate into a new variant steps to increase testing access should have happened before the current wave hit, not several weeks into the surge, with resources still not available until later this month or beyond.”

“Given our current public health crisis, we ask that you address the steps you have taken to prepare the country for the increase in cases, why the Administration failed to take more significant steps earlier to increase access to at-home tests, and how you plan to mitigate the impact of the current and future variants moving forward,” the Senators continued. “We must improve preparedness, catch up with current testing and mitigation needs expeditiously, and take additional measures to ensure we are not caught off guard again. We stand ready to work hand in hand with you to ensure all of our communities get what they need as soon as possible, and are prepared for what comes next.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.