August 8, 2022

President Joe Biden, isolated in the White House due to the coronavirus, signed two measures Friday aimed at curbing fraud in pandemic relief programs.

The legislation, passed by Congress with bipartisan support, extends the statute of limitations to give prosecutors more time to file criminal charges.

“The American people deserve to know that their tax money is being spent as intended,” Biden said. “My message to these cheaters is this. You can’t hide. We’ll find you. We’ll make you pay for what you stole and hold you accountable by law.”

By some estimates, billions of dollars that were supposed to help small businesses and people who lost their jobs could have ended up in the hands of fraudsters. The Justice Department appointed a special prosecutor to target the case.

“The guard dogs are back,” Biden said.

The president spoke from a balcony at the White House, where he made other public remarks while he was impeached due to a rebound case of COVID-19.

He tested positive on July 21 and was treated with the antiviral drug Baxilovid. He tested negative twice and ended several days of isolation, only to test positive again last Saturday.

The rebound condition caused a recurrence of mild symptoms, including coughing.

The president’s personal physician, Dr. Kevon O’Connor, wrote Friday that the cough was “almost completely resolved,” although Biden still tested positive that morning.

The COVID-19 virus has muddied some of Biden’s plans. For example, he canceled an in-person visit with veterans who were demonstrating for health care legislation outside the US Capitol, and made a video call instead.

However, the last days were also a hugely productive time for his presidency. Democratic lawmakers have reached agreement on legislation to lower prescription drug prices, collect more tax revenue from companies and spend hundreds of billions of dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Biden was also in isolation when he announced the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The president is counting on the negative test again soon. On Monday, he is scheduled to visit Kentucky, which has been devastated by floods.

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