President Barack Obama attempted to increase America’s stockpile of ventilators before the coronavirus outbreak, but was blocked by congressional Republicans.
Donald Trump has often claimed, without evidence, that the “cupboards were bare” as COVID-19 began to infect Americans. This claim is untrue. Trump was left equipment like ventilators.
But the supply would have been larger without obstruction from Republicans during the Obama administration.
“Had Congress kept funding at the 2010 level through the end of the Obama administration, the stockpile would have benefited from $321 million more than it ended up getting,” Propublica reported after reviewing government documents.
Budget requests from the Obama administration were blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and then-Speaker John Boehner.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) warned at the time that Republican cuts were “getting into the bone marrow,” but his concerns were unheeded.
After the virus struck, Trump refused repeated requests to use the Defense Production Act to build materials. He also feuded with governors about providing equipment and appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to run the program, which was widely derided as a disaster.
The death toll from COVID-19 in America is over 163,000 and continuing to rise.