Jan 26, 2023
House Republicans to Question Biden Health Officials on Covid Response
(Bloomberg) -- Republicans in Congress have called top U.S. health officials to Capitol Hill to testify about the Biden administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, now controlled by Republicans who took the majority in the recent election, are planning a public hearing for Feb. 8. They will interrogate leaders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, said the person, who asked not to be named as the details of the hearing aren’t yet public.
The move comes after years of Republicans accusing federal health agencies under President Joe Biden of overstepping with vaccine and mask mandates, misguided messaging, and the continuation of the public health emergency declaration.
House Republicans have approached CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell and FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, according to the person. They’ve also invited Lawrence Tabak, who is currently performing the duties of NIH director after the retirement of agency chief Francis Collins.
Walensky and O’Connell both plan to attend and testify at the hearing, their respective federal agencies confirmed to Bloomberg News.
“In her testimony, Dr. Walensky will highlight the agency’s work moving forward to better prepare CDC and the nation against emerging health threats,” CDC spokesperson Jason McDonald said in an emailed statement. “She will lay out the significant progress made since she announced the reform initiative in August and once again call on congressional support for new data and workforce authorities.”
McDonald added that the Walensky “wants to participate in meaningful oversight of CDC and its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The NIH, FDA and the House Energy and Commerce Committee didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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