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Smith Statement on Defense Department Misuse of CARES Act COVID Relief Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after reports by The Washington Post highlighted that the Department of Defense repurposed funds allocated for pandemic relief.
 
“Today’s reporting confirms once again that the Trump Administration continues to exploit the trust of the American people. The congressional allocation of $1 billion under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act), was intended to increase the short-term and long-term domestic production of critically needed medical supplies and equipment. Instead of focusing on a clear, coordinated strategy to produce and acquire the medical supplies necessary to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the Trump Administration carved up this billion-dollar appropriation and spent three dollars on defense contracts for every dollar it spent on acquiring health resources.
 
“I’ve long said that the Pentagon’s budget, which has continued to surge over time, is more than adequate to meet DoD’s operational needs. It is alarming that they have not properly aligned their spending with strategic priorities and continue to ask for more. DoD has requested an additional $5.3 billion for Defense Production Act Title III investments without providing a properly detailed spend plan.
 
“Our nation is counting on bold actions to bring us out of the grips of the pandemic crisis. With the safety and lives of our health care, first responder, and essential workforces at stake, the Department must be held accountable to administer the funding in the way Congress intended.”
 

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