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Critics slam Biden admin for claiming Trump admin lacked a vaccine distribution plan

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Following sources with direct knowledge of the new administration’s Covid-related work telling CNN that newly sworn-in President Joe Biden and advisors are inheriting no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, many have hit back at claims that former President Donald Trump lacked a distribution plan.

President Trump did in fact create what he called “Operation Warp Speed” to develop and distribute a vaccine against the novel coronavirus within a matter of months. The goal was “to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021…”

Moreover, the administration for the most part delegated to the states the distribution of the vaccine to the public.

Click here to read the Trump plan.

But the Biden administration claims they are “going to have to build everything from scratch,” one source told CNN.

Another source illustrated to CNN in its Thursday report the moment they said it became apparent that the Biden administration would have to essentially start from “square one” because there simply was no plan as: “Wow, just further affirmation of complete incompetence.”

Jeff Zients, Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator, also recently told reporters, according to The Hill, “What we’re inheriting is so much worse than we could have imagined.”

Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) called Zients’ comments an “old Washington spin,” in a statement.

In a tweet sharing the statement from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the GOP members of the subcommittee wrote, “The Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed laid the groundwork for success.”

“The fact is the Biden Administration inherited contracts for 300 million doses of vaccines for two approved vaccines and two in the final stage of clinical trials,” Scalise said in the statement.

“Because of Operation Warp Speed and President Trump’s strong leadership, the United States is already administering close to a million vaccines a day. By doing simple math, we are on track to deliver 100 million doses in 100 days, showing that President Biden’s plan is not a new plan at all and leans on the Trump Administration’s success,” he argued.

“If President Biden wants to develop a new plan to administer 200 million vaccines in 100 days,” Scalise added, “Congressional Republicans stand ready to work with President Biden to help further speed vaccine distribution.”

In CNN’s report, one of the sources told the news outlet that—prior to Inauguration Day—some of Biden’s COVID-19 advisers had wanted to be careful not to be too publicly critical of the Trump administration’s handling of the virus and vaccine, given that the Biden transition team was already experiencing difficulty with getting vital information and cooperation from the soon-departing administration.

The same source added that—now that power has been handed over—the Biden administration is hoping that they can quickly begin to get a clearer idea of where things actually stand with vaccine distribution and administration across the United States, carrying out a sort of “fact-checking” exercise on what exactly the previous administration did and did not do.

It is also worth noting that shortly after Biden took the oath of office Wednesday, Amazon offered his administration assistance in distributing the vaccine.

“As you begin your work leading the country out of the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration,” Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, wrote in a Wednesday letter to President Biden.

“We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts,” Clark continued. “Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against Covid-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort.”

The company has not stated why it waited until Biden entered the Oval Office to offer its help with vaccine distribution.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Economy

Biden Administration Expands Obamacare Coverage for ‘Dreamers’

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Friday morning the Biden administration announced it is expanding health-care access for “Dreamers”, a select group of illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. Illegal immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be granted access to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to the White House. Beginning in November, DACA members will be able to apply for healthcare coverage on healthcare.gov and state level insurance marketplaces.

“I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed,” President Joe Biden said in a prepared statement. “And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.”

National Review notes Biden was vice president when then-president Barack Obama created DACA through executive order over a decade ago. The program gives deportation protections and work visas to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. An estimated 580,000 people are enrolled in the program. Former president Donald Trump failed to put an end to DACA during his term and the program continues to be fought in court.

Over 100,000 DACA beneficiaries will purchase health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace and Basic Health Program created by the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates. Access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will not be incorporated into the White House’s new rule after Biden proposed doing so last year, according to National Review.

“Now as Vice President, I have worked alongside President Biden to take steps to preserve and fortify DACA. Today, we are building on this progress by ensuring DACA recipients also have access to affordable health care, which will improve the health of all communities,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a prepared statement. “This announcement will bring relief to more than 100,000 people and help them thrive while working to achieve their aspirations.”

The White House did not share a cost estimate for the expansion of Obamacare to DACA recipients. They will be eligible for financial assistance to help them afford the health insurance DACA enrollees are now eligible to purchase.

Biden called for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and to give Dreamers permanent citizenship. It’s unlikely that Congress will grant Biden’s wishes, given the failure of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration package earlier this year. Conservatives widely rejected the Senate’s proposal for not being tough enough on the southern border at a time when record levels of illegal immigrants are entering the country.

Immigration is a top issue for voters in the 2024 election because of the surge in border crossings under Biden’s watch. Polls indicate that Americans believe that Trump is better suited to handle the crisis at the southern border with his hardline approach.

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