House Republicans are calling on the Biden administration to investigate alleged collusion between a major teachers union and the Centers for Disease Control on COVID-19 guidance on keeping schools closed.
"We request that you investigate immediately allegations of collusion and political influence in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]'s correspondence between the CDC and the American Federation of Teachers [AFT]," the letter to the Department of Health and Human Services signed by Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., and 25 House Republicans read.
The letter, obtained and published by the Daily Caller, demands the HHS inspector general look into how the AFT, the nation's second largest teachers union, might have influenced CDC requirements before schools can reopen.
"The Biden administration's unscientific push to keep students from in-person learning is doing irreversible damage to our children's futures and our society," Rep. Good told Daily Caller before sending the letter.
The call comes after an outcry amid allegations teachers unions had an outsized role in dictating CDC guidance on school reopenings after President Joe Biden took office in January.
"Many had anticipated in February that the CDC would recommend in-school instruction nationwide, as studies, including one published by CDC researchers, indicate that school attendance contributes little to community transmission and students are largely safe with in-person instruction," the letter read.
"Instead, the resulting guidance was contradictory and ambiguous, stating that it was safe for schools to be open if mitigation techniques were employed, but that schools in areas with high transmission could choose not to employ mitigation techniques in the classroom and instead remain closed."
Republicans noted parents have been "suspicious" of teachers not wanting to return to in-person instruction, particularly because of the power and influence of teachers unions locally in some areas and nationally with the CDC.
"Emails between AFT and CDC officials just days before the release of the February guidance show that two AFT requests restricting reopening were adopted almost verbatim in the final guidance," Good's letter read. "Parents across the country have long been suspicious about the inordinate union influence in the school reopening debate."
For its role AFT President Randi Weingarten called their influence over the CDC guidance merely a function of "everyday advocacy" and not "nefarious."
She tweeted earlier this month:
"Once again the @NYPost has a hit piece out on AFT – this time that is trying to make everyday advocacy look nefarious."
Weingarten defended her organization's influence over the CDC as a stakeholder, but Republicans argue the teachers union look out for teachers, by design, over the needs of students and families.
"I'm calling for an immediate investigation into the allegations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is actively working to put teachers union political interests before students," Good told Daily Caller on Monday. "America's public health decisions must be based on science and data, not political pressure or favors to special interests."
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