WASHINGTON, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) sent a letter to Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to call for a hearing on COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
With broad jurisdiction over the health sector and federal agencies directly involved in the response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee has a responsibility to actively examine, through hearings, ways to improve efforts to fight COVID-19, as well as conduct oversight as resources provided by Congress are being deployed.
Today, Burgess called on Eshoo to hold a hearing to examine COVID-19 testing capacity, testing supplies, testing strategies, and how to ensure the country has a sufficient amount of PPE to conduct these tests.
“Building off the bipartisan work of Chairman Pallone, I believe now is the time to work together to discuss COVID-19 testing in the public forum of the Health Subcommittee, including best practices for implementing comprehensive testing policies, testing capacity, and access to both tests and the supplies needed to administer and run them,” wrote Burgess.
The committee has held several bipartisan teleconferences to examine issues like testing. Additionally, Congress has acted on the advice of experts that testing is needed and will help reopen the U.S. economy by proving billions of dollars to those efforts in the COVID-19 relief bills. However, more work needs to be done.
“Severe disruptions to the global supply chain have dangerously reduced the U.S. supply of PPE, ultimately putting health care provider and patient lives at risk. Exploring this issue is relevant not only to testing, where it is necessary for safe sample collection and processing, but it is also a valuable use of the Subcommittee’s time given its importance to all frontline health care workers, who rely on PPE to protect themselves, and their patients from contracting the virus and possibly infecting others,” continued Burgess.
Burgess would also like to discuss how to best deploy additional resources for contact tracing to meet the levels needed. Like COVID-19 testing, there are many opportunities to conduct essential work on bipartisan issues to improve response efforts to this pandemic that is claiming lives. However, the Health Subcommittee is wasting precious time and resources this week to conduct a partisan hearing on a whistleblower complaint that was only made public a week ago, rather than examine urgent issues like availability of PPE and contact tracing.
Whistleblowers should be heard, and there are mechanisms to conduct thorough nonpartisan investigations. The committee should let that process work.
CLICK HERE to read the letter.
Burgess has written several letters Eshoo to ask for the Subcommittee of Health to hold bipartisan hearings on pressing challenges within the subcommittee’s jurisdiction to support efforts to overcome COVID-19 and reopen the economy.
On May 8, 2020 Burgess requested Eshoo to hold a hearing on the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
On May 11, 2020 Burgess requested Eshoo to hold a hearing on COVID-19’s impact on mental health.
On May 12, 2020 Burgess requested Eshoo to hold a hearing on reducing racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes.