House Republicans press Biden administration over purchase of Chinese COVID kits

House Republicans are pressing the Biden administration over reports that the government purchased $1.3 billion worth of Chinese-manufactured COVID-19 test kits.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday, GOP lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee demanded that the administration clarify why it chose Chinese suppliers over American competitors.

“American people deserve to have their tax dollars spent at home, investing in American infrastructure, American research and American-made products,” the lawmakers wrote. “Instead, this administration has spent billions on Chinese-manufactured testing kits and materials.”

The GOP lawmakers, led by Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, want information related to the use of taxpayer funds for testing materials and a briefing on how HHS plans to expand the U.S. industrial base to fulfill future testing needs domestically.

In the letter, the lawmakers cited a Bloomberg Law article from January announcing the HHS purchase of $1.3 billion in test equipment from iHealth Labs, Inc., the California-based subsidiary of Chinese manufacturer Andon Health Co., Ltd.

“According to HHS’ data, the U.S. has invested only $1.375 billion in domestic manufacturing capabilities and raw materials,” the lawmakers wrote. “In contrast, under just one contract, HHS spent nearly $1.3 billion to procure testing kits manufactured in China.”

The lawmakers are requesting all documents and communications related to the purchase from iHealth Labs and “any entity affiliated with the Chinese government and/or the Chinese Communist Party.”

“More than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there has been a minimal effort by HHS and the Biden administration to invest in American jobs and manufacturing,” the lawmakers wrote. “We can never have another instance as we did in the early days and months of the pandemic when we found ourselves entirely reliant on Chinese sources for everything from pharmaceuticals to personal protective equipment.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

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