Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will appear in front of the House Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis as his agency faces a whirlwind of erroneous accusations.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) announced Thursday that Azar will appear in front of the committee on Oct. 2 to testify on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Clyburn said the hearing will “examine the Trump Administration’s unprecedented political interference in the work of scientists and public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration, the Administration’s refusal to provide accurate and clear public health information, and the failure of the Administration to develop and implement a comprehensive national plan to contain the coronavirus, more than eight months into this public health emergency.”
Next month’s hearing will mark the first time Azar has testified before Congress since February, according to Clyburn.
Lawmakers have said Azar “has not done enough to blunt the White House’s efforts to politicize the pandemic response,” and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week called on him to resign.
Secretary Azar must resign immediately.
We need a Secretary of Health & Human Services who will fight for the American people.
Not one subservient to the daily whims of President Trump and his pressure to “slow the testing down.”
Not one silent on the chaos at the Department.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 15, 2020
The announcement of Azar’s testimony comes as the Department of Health and Human Services faces a fierce criticism from Democrats that it has “worked to politicize the government’s response to the pandemic,” accusations Azar has so far not addressed in depth.
“It has become abundantly clear that the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services has allowed perhaps the most important federal agency right now to become subservient to the president’s daily whims,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “So today, I am calling on Secretary Azar to resign immediately. We need a Secretary of Health and Human Services who will look out for the American people, not President Trump’s political interests.”
Democrats have also voiced concerns over remarks Trump has made about a “deep state” at the Food and Drug Administration as he pressures the agency to move faster on approvals of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, according to The Hill.