Biden Administration Continues Funding Pandemic Response Salaries Despite End Of Emergency

The Biden administration is currently allocating thousands of dollars to maintain the salaries of several employees under the “Pandemic Response” banner, despite the official end of the public health emergency. White House payroll records reveal that six staffers from the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response are collectively earning $667,000 annually. These salaries range from $56,500 to $139,500 per year.

This spending persists even though President Biden declared the pandemic “over” in a September 2022 interview on “60 Minutes,” and the federal public health emergency concluded on May 11, 2023. The Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response was established in July 2023, tasked with managing COVID-19-related responsibilities and preparing for future pandemics. The office is led by retired Air Force General Paul Friedrichs.

Critics argue that the continued funding of these positions contributes to the administration’s high spending, which has been linked to rising inflation. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law by Biden in 2021, aimed to boost the struggling COVID economy. However, this significant expenditure has been criticized for exacerbating inflationary pressures.

In comparison, the Trump administration proposed spending between $530 billion and $870 billion on COVID relief. Estimates for the Biden administration’s spending range from $2 trillion to $4.2 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. As of January 2023, $90.5 billion of the allocated $4.6 trillion remained unspent, with $23.7 billion expiring, based on a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The Biden administration employs 565 staffers and has spent $225 million on payroll since fiscal year 2021, marking the highest payroll expenditure since President Richard Nixon’s administration in 1971, as reported by Open The Books.