The Trump administration is prohibiting the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from testifying at House hearings next week on re-opening the nation’s schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the chair of the committee in charge of the hearings announced Friday.
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who leads the Committee on Education and Labor, had invited CDC Director Robert Redfield or another agency representative to testify July 23 at a hearing before the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee on how to safely reopen schools.
But Scott revealed Friday on Twitter that the “White House will NOT allow” Redfield to testify.
— Committee on Education & Labor (@EdLaborCmte) July 17, 2020
“It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing the CDC from appearing before the committee at a time when its expertise and guidance is so critical to the health and safety of students, parents, and educators,” Scott said in a statement. “This lack of transparency does a great disservice to the many communities across the country facing difficult decisions about reopening schools this fall.”
Scott added: “The administration’s strategy of prioritizing politics over science has had a devastating impact on our country throughout this pandemic. It should not make that same mistake when it comes to reopening schools.”
Redfield could not be reached for comment. But a CDC representative told Politico that Redfield has participated in more than 10 congressional hearings on the coronavirus.
“He takes seriously his responsibility to keep Congress informed on CDC’s response to COVID,” the spokesperson told Politico. “Being cognizant of the need to prioritize time of task force members, CDC will participate in future hearings when approached by committees of jurisdiction.”
Vice President Mike Pence said last week that the CDC would be issuing revised guidelines for schools this week after Trump called earlier advice from the agency “tough and expensive.” Redfield said afterward that the guidelines wouldn’t be relaxed but that additional information would be provided in the next couple of weeks.
Schools in Florida, an epicenter of the disease in the nation currently with record numbers of new cases, has ordered its schools to open next month. The GOP is now scaling back its convention in Jacksonville next month and is considering an outdoor amphitheater for Donald Trump’s acceptance speech because of the dangers of COVID-19, reports The Miami Herald.
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