A group of senior GOP lawmakers wants the House Oversight and Reform Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to hold an “immediate hearing” on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s pandemic response, alleging the agency “failed to uphold its mission” during the peak of the health crisis.
In a letter sent to Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Select Subcommittee Chairman and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) on Thursday, the Republican lawmakers argued the CDC has proven to be a “deeply flawed agency.” Their concerns ranged from the agency withholding requested information on the number of hospitalizations and the vaccine’s effectiveness to recent reports that it tracked individuals' cellphone data to see if people were complying with lockdown orders.
“Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has at times acted as an ivory tower academic institution refusing to follow the science, provide practical and current guidance during an unprecedented health crisis, or gather and share sound data with the American people. These are only a few examples of the agency’s failures over the past two years,” wrote the group, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), also the top Republican on the select subcommittee, and Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer (R-KY).
“CDC bureaucrats have published confusing guidance, acted outside their legal authority, undermined efforts to reopen schools, and shockingly allowed political organizations to edit official guidance. Recent reporting regarding alleged data mining and tracking of Americans’ cell phone locations only adds to these concerns. We therefore request an immediate hearing to oversee the CDC, as well as examine options to reform the agency and address the issues cited above.”
The lawmakers pointed to testimony from former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield stating that he received pushback when trying to reopen schools.
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The group also sounded the alarm about the agency’s conflicting masking guidelines in schools versus other public spaces and took issue with the majority of the agency’s employees working from home during the peak of the pandemic.
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“At the end of February 2022, the CDC updated the community masking guidelines which allowed adults to unmask indoors in most areas," they wrote. "Yet, on the CDC’s main school and early childhood education guideline pages, it only notes this change in a banner at the top of the webpages, leaving the old guidance in place below the banner. This has led to mass confusion for schools, parents, physicians, and even the media.”