WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – A new report from the Associated Press said the Trump administration installed political operatives at the Centers for Disease Control to oversee messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AP said the White House installed two Republican party operatives at the CDC in June to try to manage the information released about the virus.
“The Trump administration took unusual steps to control the flow of information,” said AP reporter Jason Dearen, the story’s author.
Dearen said it’s not clear how much either operative actually influenced what the CDC told Americans about the pandemic.
“Now Congress is investigating this and the role of these political operatives,” Dearen said.
In the meantime, Congress also continues to work on another COVID-19 relief bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to bring what he calls a “targeted” $500 billion package to the Senate floor next week.
Democratic Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said McConnell’s bill doesn’t do enough.
“Does nothing on taking care of people with COVID, does not guarantee their healthcare,” Leahy said.
The bill would provide money for schools, unemployment payments, and help small businesses, but it’s far less than the more than $2 trillion Democrats want, and even less than the latest $1.8 trillion proposal from the Trump administration.
That frustrates Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
“The Republican side is all fractured and arguing with itself and that makes it really hard for Democrats,” he said.
Republican Louisiana Senator John Kennedy wants Democrats to do more than just reject the GOP’s proposal.
“Vote to proceed on that bill and then let’s start amending it and let’s pass something,” Kennedy said.
And even though Trump called on Congress to “go big” on a deal, administration officials say that may not happen.
“I’d say at this point, getting something done before the election and executing on that would be difficult,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.