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Desperate for Medical Equipment, States Encounter a Beleaguered National Stockpile

COVID-19 has created countless problems between state and federal leaders

On Feb. 5, with fewer than a dozen confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the United States but tens of thousands around the globe, a shouting match broke out in the White House Situation Room between Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official, according to three people aware of the outburst.

Azar had asked OMB that morning for $2 billion to buy respirator masks and other supplies for a depleted federal stockpile of emergency medical equipment, according to individuals familiar with the request, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about internal discussions.

The previously unreported argument turned on the request and on the budget official’s accusation that Azar had improperly lobbied Capitol Hill for money for the repository, which Azar denied, the individuals said.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Washington Post.

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