President Joe Biden, who is quarantined at the White House residence with COVID-19, signed two measures on Friday aimed at curbing fraud in the pandemic relief package.
The bill passed Congress with bipartisan support, extending the statute of limitations and giving prosecutors more time to file criminal charges.
“The American people deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used as intended,” Biden said. “My message to those cheaters is this. You can’t hide. We’ll find you. We’ll make you pay back what you stole. , and hold you accountable in accordance with the law.”
It is estimated that billions of dollars that were supposed to help small businesses and the unemployed could end up in the hands of fraudsters. The Justice Department has appointed a special prosecutor to address the issue.
“The watchdog is back,” Biden said.
The president, speaking from the balcony of the White House, made other public remarks during his isolation from the rebound of COVID-19 cases.
He initially tested positive on July 21 and was treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid. He tested negative twice and ended days of isolation, but tested positive again on Saturday.
Rebound cases lead to recurrence of mild symptoms, including coughing.
Dr. Kevon O’Connor, the president’s personal physician, wrote Friday that the cough was “almost completely gone” even though Biden still tested positive that morning.
COVID-19 disrupted some of Biden’s plans. For example, he canceled a personal visit with veterans who demonstrated outside the U.S. Capitol for health care legislation and made a video call instead.
However, the last few days have also been a very productive period for his presidency. Democratic lawmakers have reached an agreement on legislation to lower prescription drug prices, collect more taxes from businesses and spend hundreds of billions of dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Biden was also in isolation when he announced the killing of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The president is counting on testing negative again soon. On Monday, he plans to visit flood-ravaged Kentucky.