House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not pleased that the Trump administration has restricted coronavirus task force members from testifying before Congress, noting that information is needed in order for the House to have the information it needs to allocate resources.
“I was hoping they would spend more time on the crisis instead of those daily shows that the President put on,” Pelosi told CNN.
“The fact is that we need to allocate resources for [the coronavirus response]. In order to do that, any appropriations bill must begin in the House and we have to have information to act upon [it],” she added. “So the fact that they said, ‘We’re too busy being on TV to come to the Capitol’ is, well, business as usual for them. But it is not business that will be helpful to addressing this.”
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee revealed that it sought to have Dr. Anthony Fauci testify before a subcommittee this week.
The White House blocked Fauci from speaking, with Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying that the administration asked for details on why Fauci was being sought out, which it never got.
McEnany said that the White House wanted to make sure that the “subject matter of the hearing matched the individual they’re requesting” and that “there was never any clarity given forth as to what the actual subject matter of this hearing would be,” CNN reports.
After that, the White House issued a memo saying that no task force member or key deputies of task force members would be accepting hearing invitations without the “express approval” of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
“For primary response departments, including HHS, DHS and State, in order to preserve department-wide resources, no more than one COVID-related hearing should be agreed to with the department’s primary House and Senate authorizing committee and appropriations subcommittee in the month of May, for a total of no more than four COVID-related hearings department-wide,” the memo added.
Fauci is still expected to appear before a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which is led by Republicans, later this month.