The White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a lead member of the coronavirus task force and the nation’s top specialist on contagious disease, from testifying before a House committee looking into the administration’s COVID-19 response.
Said House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander in a statement, via CNN: “The Appropriations Committee sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week’s Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere claimed Fauci’s appearance before the committee would be “counterproductive:” “While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up Amfaucierica again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings. We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”
But CNN reports Fauci is expected to appear before a Republican-led committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on May 12.
A senior White House official told the Washington Post: “It’s not muzzling, it’s not blocking, it’s simply trying to ensure we’re able to balance the need for oversight, the legitimate need for oversight, with their responsibilities to handle covid-19 work at their respective agencies and departments.”
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