Frustrated by a lack of federal leadership, governors of both parties are trying to forge a national coronavirus testing program without the White House’s help.

The seven-state effort to buy more than 3 million coronavirus antigen tests was born of need and disappointment. It was midwifed by the Rockefeller Foundation and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and skirts President Donald Trump’s administration, even if many governors would prefer an approach coordinated by the federal government.

The foundation will help marshal funds, and the governors -- four Democrats and three Republicans -- aim to recruit more states, assuring test-makers of the biggest possible market and filling a vacuum left by federal inaction.

The group includes Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia, and the states are already in discussions with test manufacturers Becton, Dickinson & Co. and Quidel Corp. The tests, which search for proteins on the surface of the virus, can deliver results in 15 to 20 minutes.

“The states are leading America’s national response to Covid-19,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat. “We are bringing together this bipartisan, multistate coalition to combine our purchasing power and get rapid testing supplies to our communities as quickly as possible.”

People “want to see action, and we’re delivering,” he said.

The agreement is a significant reproach to the administration, which has failed to formulate a coherent national plan to fight a disease that has so far killed more than 156,000 Americans and has at times left states competing for supplies. It brings together politicians of different parties, despite Trump’s effort to sow dissent before the November election. And it comes in partnership with an elite charity that’s a bastion of the American establishment.

“This appears to be a joint rebuke based in joint exasperation,” said Dan Schnur, who teaches political communications at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California. Although many states this spring tried to coordinate their approaches to fighting the pandemic and reopening their economies, those efforts fell short of pooling resources to buy badly needed tests.

“Shared communications and coordination is one thing, but a joint financial commitment in the absence of federal action is something else,” Schnur said.

Hogan, the Republican governor of a blue state and the outgoing chairman of the National Governors Association, has openly criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Last month, the Washington Post published an excerpt of his coming book in which he said Trump’s lack of leadership had forced governors to confront the deadly virus on their own.

“With severe shortages and delays in testing and the federal administration attempting to cut funding for testing, the states are banding together,” Hogan said Tuesday in a press release. The group’s plan is to “leverage all available resources” to create a cooperative agreement for national testing and tracing, according to a letter from the governors to the Rockefeller Foundation.

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