May 2 (UPI) — The White House blocked public health official Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying at next week’s House hearing on the federal coronavirus response, a committee staffer said Friday.
The House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies sought to have Fauci appear at its Wednesday hearing. Panel spokesman Evan Hollander told CNBC that lawmakers were “informed by an administration official that the White House blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed that Fauci won’t be attending the hearing.
“While the Trump administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counterproductive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings,” Deere said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.
Fauci, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden is expected to appear at Wednesday’s hearing.