- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2022

The Biden administration is suspending an online program that provides at-home COVID-19 tests for free, citing a lack of funding from Congress.

“Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests,” it says on the program’s website, https://www.covid.gov/tests.

President Biden launched the initiative in January after the administration appeared unprepared to provide enough testing amid the omicron wave that hit over the holidays.  

Under the program, the U.S. Postal Service ships batches of tests to Americans’ doorsteps at no cost.

The administration said it wants to preserve supply in case there is another winter surge. The U.S. saw major spikes in transmission around the holidays in 2020 and 2021.

“We are suspending new orders through this program to preserve our limited remaining supply so that we can ensure we have a limited supply of tests available in the fall when we might face a new rise in infections and more acute need,” a senior administration official said. “If Congress provides funding, we will expeditiously resume distribution of free tests through COVIDTests.gov. Until then, we believe reserving the remaining tests for distribution later this year is the best course.”

The Biden administration has repeatedly pointed the finger at Congress for failing to provide billions in additional funding for the COVID-19 response. Lawmakers struck a deal on a $10 billion package earlier this year, but it got snagged in a parallel policy fight over COVID-19 rules at the southern border.

Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah Republican who negotiated the bipartisan package, also faulted the administration for repurposing money toward COVID-19 after insisting it was impossible.

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

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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