Documents obtained by Politico reveal that the Trump White House is weighing millions of dollars in federal funding cuts to Covid-19 relief, newborn screenings, and other crucial healthcare programs in Democrat-led cities, a move critics decried as politically motivated "retribution" that could have a devastating impact on poor and sick Americans amid the ongoing pandemic.
Politico reported late Tuesday that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has "identified federal grants covering... nearly 200 health programs that could be in line for cuts as part of a sweeping government-wide directive the administration is advancing during the final weeks of the presidential campaign and amid an intensifying pandemic Trump has downplayed."
"Vote these monsters out," progressive strategist Murshed Zaheed tweeted in response to the new reporting.
According to Politico:
HHS compiled the list with input from at least 12 agencies it oversees. The list includes 185 programs that touch on everything from Trump's own initiative to end HIV transmission by the end of the decade to the opioid crisis and research into lung diseases. The list also includes funding for other programs, like $423,000 for universal hearing screenings for newborns in the District of Columbia, housing for people in addiction recovery in Seattle, and services providing nutrition and mental health counseling to elderly New Yorkers.
The administration's decision to target funding for life-saving health programs stems from a September 2 memorandum in which President Donald Trump ordered federal agencies to review "funding to state and local government recipients" that the White House has condemned for not quashing racial justice protests.
Last month, as Common Dreams reported, the Department of Justice designated New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon as "anarchist jurisdictions" that could lose federal grant money amid a pandemic that has taken an enormous toll on state and local budgets.
Besides shameless graft, Trump's central agenda is tormenting the people who didn't vote for him https://t.co/QJdkkErAl3— Michelle Goldberg (@Michelle Goldberg)1603282727.0
Chrissie Juliano, executive director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, an organization that represents major city health departments, warned that "there's no extra money lying around" to help local governments make up for potential federal funding cuts.
"This is not a time to be playing politics with people's health," Juliano told Politico.