Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Hearing on COVID-19 Response

2020-06-04 11:15

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee's hearing on COVID-19 response:

Thank you, Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole.  It’s a pleasure to join you remotely. Dr. Redfield, welcome back before the subcommittee. 

As the nation faces the greatest public health crisis of the past century, Americans have never needed the CDC more than we do right now.  And that’s why I’m so troubled. 

The President has pushed away the science when it did not suit him time and time again. This President pushed aside medical experts, including the CDC’s expert on respiratory diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, because her legitimate warnings rattled the stock market. 

The President encouraged the use of hydroxy chloroquine even though studies have shown that coronavirus patients receiving this drug were more likely to die. 

He even raised ingesting disinfectants like Lysol and Clorox, causing manufacturers to warn of the danger and leading to a spike in calls to poison control centers throughout the country. 

This is not normal.  This is dangerous.

We have lost more than 100,000 souls, nowhere more than in my home state of New York.

In the absence of a strong federal role, New York has been a leader in testing to contain covid-19.  But this virus does not recognize state boundaries.  To succeed against the coronavirus, our federal public health officials must take charge, combat disinformation, and get this right. 

With many states beginning to re-open, the CDC must remain vigilant to combat the continued increase in cases as well as the expected second wave this fall.   The President’s preference of a patchwork for 50 different states fighting covid-19 on their own will not stop these levels of destruction and will lead to more suffering and death.  We need a national strategy on testing and tracing, and we need it now. 

We stand ready to support CDC.  In recent months, this Committee has provided $7.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding to CDC to respond to this public health crisis, and the House-passed Heroes Act would provide an additional $2.1 billion. We will do everything we can to protect the public.  I only wish the President would do the same.


116th Congress