House Republicans accuse CDC director of keeping agency in 'constant crisis' throughout pandemic
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FIRST ON FOX: The top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee accused Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky of keeping the agency in "constant crisis" throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Committee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., alongside Health and Oversight Subcommittee ranking members Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., and Morgan Griffith, R-Va., sent a letter to Walensky on Friday highlighting the several crises facing the agency under her watch.
"As the incoming Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you promised the American people you would lead with ‘facts, science, and integrity,’" the lawmakers wrote in the letter exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital. "At a time of such fear and uncertainty, that commitment was critical to build trust with the public."
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., on April 2, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
"But, you quickly abandoned that commitment to distort and ignore science, often to please Biden-Harris political donors," the Republicans slammed Walensky.
The lawmakers wrote that the CDC has been in "constant crisis" with Walensky at the helm, including "misleading" Americans on the likelihood of outdoor COVID-19 transmission in April 2021, which resulted in the agency's "cruel summer camp guidance" requiring kids to wear masks outside, as well as "misinterpreted research" for school guidance.
Additionally, the lawmakers torched Walensky over her "‘partnership’ with teachers unions" after it was revealed the CDC had worked with teachers unions to craft the school guidance.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4, 2021. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)
"In May 2021, emails revealed that your agency was politically compromised," the Republicans wrote. "Specifically, emails showed that you partnered with powerful teachers’ unions to draft your ‘scientific’ school guidance. While teachers’ unions praised this guidance, children suffered."
They also pointed to Walensky’s "misleading hospitalization numbers" from earlier this week, saying the CDC director has "not clarified how many of the more than 800,00 deaths in the U.S. were ‘from COVID’ as opposed to ‘with COVID,’ but you did suggest the ‘data will be forthcoming.’"
"These are just a few of the instances that demonstrate a pattern of distorting or ignoring science and misleading the American public by CDC, which undoubtedly has further eroded public trust in you and your agency," the Republicans wrote. "If you continue to lead the CDC for the Biden administration, we suggest you insulate your agency’s decisions from political pressures."
Walensky was in the Senate hot seat on Tuesday where she repeated findings from a flawed study to support her position on masking in schools.
"We have new science that has demonstrated the value of masking; 3.5 times increased risk of school outbreaks if you’re unmasked in schools vs. masking in schools," Walensky said.
This number referred to a study released by the CDC in September that claimed that schools in counties without mask mandates were 3.5 times more likely to experience a COVID-19 outbreak. This study has been heavily cited by Walensky in efforts to promote universal masking for children.
However, in December, this study came under fire by The Atlantic, who criticized several flaws within the methodology which, among other things, included 40 "virtual learning academies," roughly 20 preschools and roughly 90 "vocational programs associated with otherwise-listed schools."
The CDC did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Fox News' Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.