Democratic and Republican lawmakers on a House appropriations subcommittee rebuked the White House for preventing public health official Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying during Wednesday’s hearing on the coronavirus.
The top two members of the subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies opened the hearing with the criticism, saying Fauci’s presence was critical for oversight.
Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said it proved the Trump administration is “just frightened of oversight.”
“I am angry that the White House mismanaged America’s reaction to the pandemic, and the president has done everything he could to avoid accountability,” she said.
The ranking Republican on the panel, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said he joined DeLauro’s request to have Fauci appear during the hearing.
“I think it would have been good testimony, useful to this committee and useful to this country. Frankly, I think going forward, this subcommittee, more than any other, is going to need administration input, expert input, as we make the important decisions in front of us.”
No administration officials appeared at the hearing, which featured testimony from Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Caitlin Rivers, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Fauci, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The White House on Friday blocked Fauci’s appearance, with President Donald Trump telling reporters Tuesday that the House is full of “Trump haters.”
“But Dr. Fauci will be testifying in front of the Senate, and he looks forward to doing that,” Trump told reporters. “But the House I will tell you, the House, they should be ashamed of themselves. And, frankly, the Democrats should be ashamed, because they don’t want us to succeed. They want us to fail so they can win an election.”
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