September 23, 2020 at 12:19 AM EDT
Democrats seek investigation into Pentagon’s coronavirus fund following Washington Post article
By Aaron Gregg and Yeganeh Torbati
Congressional Democrats sharply criticized a Defense Department decision to repurpose a $1 billion coronavirus fund into an economic stimulus for defense contractors, a change the lawmakers say violated congressional intent. Two lawmakers asked for an investigation and public hearings on the matter following a Washington Post article that revealed the change.
The funds, set aside under the Cares Act economic stimulus package passed in March, were given to the Pentagon to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” But the Defense Department decided to divert most of that funding toward long-standing defense concerns such as drone technology, body armor and dress uniforms. The decision was made in consultation with the White House Office of Management and Budget, as well as other federal agencies, according to a defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations.