Biden Admin Funds Pandemic Response Staff Despite Declaring Pandemic Over

Despite the official declaration that the pandemic has ended, the Biden administration is still funding salaries for several “Pandemic Response” staffers. According to White House payroll records, six employees under the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response collectively earn $667,000 annually, with individual salaries ranging from $56,500 to $139,500.

President Biden had declared the pandemic “over” in a September 2022 interview, and the federal public health emergency officially ended on May 11, 2023. Nevertheless, the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response was established in July 2023 to handle ongoing COVID-19 tasks and prepare for future pandemics. This office is currently led by retired Air Force General Paul Friedrichs.

Critics argue that these expenditures add to the administration’s high spending levels, which have been linked to rising inflation. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), a $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed by Biden in 2021, aimed to revive the COVID-hit economy but has faced criticism for its role in increasing inflation.

In contrast, the Trump administration proposed spending between $530 billion and $870 billion for COVID relief, while Biden’s spending estimates range from $2 trillion to $4.2 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. By January 2023, $90.5 billion of the $4.6 trillion allocated for COVID relief was unspent, with $23.7 billion expiring, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Currently, the Biden administration employs 565 staffers and has spent $225 million on payroll since fiscal year 2021, the highest amount since President Nixon’s era, as per Open The Books.