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Congressional report accuses Trump administration of vastly overpaying for ventilators during pandemic

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 13: The Capitol dome is seen early Wednesday morning before Amb. William Taylor And Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent testify at the first public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. In the first public impeachment hearings in more than two decades, House Democrats are trying to build a case that President Donald Trump committed extortion, bribery or coercion by trying to enlist Ukraine to investigate his political rival in exchange for military aide and a White House meeting that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky sought with Trump. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

A congressional panel accused the Trump administration of vastly overpaying for 43,000 ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic after mismanaging the negotiations for a critical contract.

The staff report written by a House Oversight subcommittee blames the administration for accepting ventilator manufacturer Philips Respironics' first offer in March 2020, agreeing to a higher price than every other American purchaser negotiating a contract with the company between mid-December 2019 and May 2020.

After granting Philips multiple deadline extensions on the Obama-era contract, the Trump administration's Department of Health and Human Services agreed to a new contract purchasing 43,000 units of a different ventilator model for $15,000 apiece even though other American purchasers negotiated cheaper contracts with Philips, according to the report.

Philips told the subcommittee staff that under the contract struck with the Trump administration, it is not obligated to finish its delivery of the ventilators until September 2022, according to the report.

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