The acting director of the White House Office of Management reiterated his proposal of a $9.5 billion cut to Health and Human Services, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pennsylvania) grilled acting director Russ Vought last week during a hearing about President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget plan.

The proposal included cutting funding to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention by 15% and decreasing the budget for the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund’s annual contribution by $35 million.

“The question is today, as we sit here and we know about coronavirus and the impact it’s taking on the people of the world and the economies of the world and the stock market and everything, as you sit here today, are you ready to take that back?” Cartwright prodded.

“If you’re asking if I’m sending up a budget amendment, no, I’m not sending up a budget amendment,” Vought responded.

A spokesperson for the OMB told The Hill that the budget cuts would not affect infectious disease, and that the president had allocated $4.3 billion for Infectious Diseases and Preparedness.


“The $4.3 billion funds all of the CDC programs that focus on infectious disease and emergency preparedness activities,” the spokesperson said. “This figure reflects that the Administration is prioritizing funding for infectious disease and emergency preparedness efforts at CDC, compared to non-infectious activities, like studying the health and safety risks of infrequent bathroom breaks for taxi drivers.”

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