A plan that President Donald J. Trump abruptly unveiled last month regarding $200 cards to seniors will not be happening before Election Day, said officials.
“We haven’t heard anything in days,” one health official told Politico. The official’s team at the Health and Human Services department would be involved in the program. To that end, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which would administer the program, did not respond to a request for comment. Politico reported Friday that CMS Administrator Seema Verma had urged staff to finalize the plan before the election, two officials said.
“The program is approved and moving forward,” the anonymous White House official said on Friday. “Cards will be sent out in the months of November and December,” adding that all the cards would arrive by the end of the year.
The program was voluntarily delayed in an effort to dismiss rumblings that it was a politically motivated move by Trump to gain voters.
“It has been clear from the very beginning that this program is a political stunt,” said Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) in a joint statement. “With GAO now investigating potential misuse of taxpayer funds, the administration had better come to its senses and scrap this highly suspect program.”
“Nobody has seen this before. These cards are incredible,” Trump said on Sept. 24, vowing that the cards “will be mailed out in coming weeks.”
He added, “I will always take care of our wonderful senior citizens. Joe Biden won’t be doing this.”
“Every day that passes is one less day” to roll out the plan before the election, said one of the officials.