House Republicans have called top U.S. health officials to testify in their first hearings about the Biden administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomberg reported.
The hearing, set for Feb. 8, will include officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Dawn O'Connell, the assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for preparedness and response, have confirmed their intention to attend and testify.
Walensky "will lay out the significant progress made since she announced the reform initiative in August and once again call on congressional support for new data and workforce authorities," CDC spokesman Jason McDonald stated.
McDonald also said that Walensky is planning to "highlight the agency's work moving forward to better prepare CDC and the nation against emerging health threats," as well as participate in meaningful oversight.
Republicans have also approached FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak. So far, the NIH has pledged only to have a representative present.
The hearings come after Republicans set out in the new term's House rules to establish committees focused on the political weaponization of federal agencies, exploring competitiveness with China, and assessing the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is under the House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky. It is authorized to probe the virus' origins, abuse of taxpayer funds, and vaccine development history.
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