WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republican Whip and Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) opening statement at today’s Select Subcommittee’s hearing calls out the Biden Administration’s horrific track record during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights how the American people have lost faith in public health officials due to their politicization of the coronavirus. Whip Scalise calls on Democrats on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to investigate claims that the Centers and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowed the American Federation of Teachers to re-write critical portions of the Biden Administration’s school reopening guidance. Additionally, Whip Scalise questions why Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats refuse to investigate the coronavirus’ origin. Remarks as prepared for delivery: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. “I’m glad Biden Administration officials are here to testify at a public hearing before this Subcommittee today. It has been a while. Thank you all for joining us. “I’d like to note that we also invited Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, but regrettably, he said he couldn’t join us unless he’s invited by the Chairman, with permission from the Biden Administration. “Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask that you invite Dr. Fauci because it has been almost a year since the last time he came before this Subcommittee. “It’s important to hear from the witnesses today about the current state of COVID and planning for the future. But I think it is imperative that we address the elephant in the room: the public has lost a lot of trust in public health officials after two years of flip-flopping, mistakes, power-grabbing, and political interference with the science. “I hope the witnesses will address the following issues directly today. There is a long list of controversies that the American public is looking for answers on. I’d like to name just a few and hope you’ll address them in either your remarks or during questioning.
- First, it was uncovered that there was direct political interference with CDC’s school reopening guidance from 2021. President Biden’s CDC discarded historical practice to allow a radical teachers union that donated tens of millions of dollars to Democrat campaigns to bypass agency norms and directly change official CDC guidance. The damaging edits by union bosses effectively kept thousands of schools shuttered across the country, locking millions of children out of their classrooms. The Biden Administration abandoned medical science and replaced it with political science to reward one of their largest donors, harming millions of children in the process.
- Mr. Chairman, I’d like to submit for the record the report released by Republicans this morning detailing this incident. Thank you.
- Roughly $200 billion in taxpayer money was spent with the intention of safely reopening schools, yet many remained closed even after taking the money. Students have suffered severe learning loss and emotional and social problems. I hope Dr. Walensky will address this scandal and provide answers for us today.
- The list goes on: the CDC recommended little kids wear masks all day—indoors and outdoors—for almost two years. They did this without any reliable, scientific evidence of masking effectiveness in toddlers. An action that likely caused developmental delays for millions of children.
- In 2021, the CDC recommended that kids at summer camp wear masks outdoors when we all knew that outdoor COVID transmission was highly unlikely.
- Recently, after a long, tortuous two years of masking guidance, the CDC has finally changed its metrics for masking, effectively allowing most of the country to take masks off. This change just happened to coincide with a memo from President Biden’s pollster that showed people are fed up with COVID restrictions like masks. Of course, I welcome the change, but why weren’t these metrics used all along? I hope the witnesses will explain that today.
- It has also been reported by the New York Times that the CDC has failed to publish essential information about COVID-19 hospitalizations, at least in part, to control the narrative around vaccine effectiveness. Reports indicate that the CDC has, in fact, collected data on vaccine and booster shot effectiveness, breakthrough infections, and wastewater analysis but has delayed its release, releasing only small portions of the data or none at all. States and localities could have used the withheld data to better inform their efforts to mitigate the virus’ spread in their area. CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund stated that the agency has been slow to release the data they routinely collected because “basically, at the end of the day, it’s not yet ready for prime time,” and they feared the information might be misinterpreted. This is why the majority of Americans do not trust what the CDC has said about COVID. What happened to the transparency we were promised by President Biden?
- On top of that, it was recently revealed that the CDC was publishing inaccurate data. An adjustment was made to the CDC COVID Data Tracker’s mortality data on March 15, involving the removal of 72,277 deaths, including 416 pediatric deaths, reducing the number of pediatric deaths from COVID-19 by nearly 24 percent. A CDC spokeswoman told the Washington Examiner that CDC’s algorithm was accidentally counting deaths that were not COVID-19-related. The flawed data indicated that children were dying at an increased rate during the omicron surge. What decisions were made based on this mistake? And who has been held accountable for this costly mistake?
- Then there is the controversy over the Biden Administration’s inaction with procuring tests and rejection of a plan to provide millions of rapid tests in time for the holidays and omicron surge.
- Sadly, we have had to endure the Biden Administration’s alienation of the unvaccinated instead of focusing on a science-driven approach that includes vaccination and natural immunity, undermining trust in the vaccine and dividing Americans.
- President Biden’s unlawful vaccine mandate on employees of private businesses was stopped by the Supreme Court. This overt power grab backfired and furthered vaccine hesitancy.
- The Biden Administration has also been sidelining the science on boosters. First, in the summer of 2021, the Biden Administration announced the availability of booster shots for all adults by September 2021. But amazingly, they made this announcement before the FDA and the CDC finished reviewing the data to determine the need for booster shots. Because of this, two senior FDA officials left the agency amid alarming reports of reported political interference. This was obviously very confusing for the public, fueling their continued distrust in public health guidance.
- Republicans on the Select Subcommittee are still the only ones in Congress to hold a hearing on the origins of COVID-19; Democrats have refused to do so.
- The U.S. was funding risky gain-of-function research in China. Taxpayers should know about that, and we should have a debate and discussion about whether to fund these types of research programs in the future. Unredacted emails show Drs. Fauci and Collins were warned that COVID-19 came from a lab in February of 2020 and worked to stifle the hypothesis.
“I hope the witnesses will address these issues today. The American public is looking for answers, and the Biden Administration desperately needs to restore trust in our public health officials.“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.”