Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter Wednesday to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky asking about the CDC’s recently revealed emails showing a “partnership” with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and involvement from the National Education Association (NEA).
Although Dr. Walensky promised to “lead with ‘facts, science, and integrity,’” questions persist surrounding the role these powerful liberal political interest groups played. Despite prior questions on the matter, recently released emails show that the AFT and NEA were able to weigh in on and lobby for changes made in the CDC’s Operational Strategy for Reopening Schools, the agency’s guidance for reopening schools around the country.
Excerpt from the Leaders’ letter to the CDC:
“Recently disclosed emails that reveal the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ‘partnership’ with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and involvement from the National Education Association (NEA) on CDC’s Operational Strategy for Reopening Schools raise significant concerns about whether you, as the Director of the CDC, are putting politics over science and Biden-Harris campaign donors over children. Such revelations also raise serious questions as to whether you are honoring your pledge to ensure CDC guidance is evidence-based and free from politics.”
“Unsurprisingly, the AFT praised the very guidance they helped shape. While Ms. Weingarten travels the country in a private jet for in-person meetings, kids sit at home glued to screens as parents are left looking for answers. The AFT’s priority is not focused on getting kids back to school, despite studies showing, with appropriate measures in place, in-person learning is safe. However, as the Director of the CDC, your decisions should be guided by science, not political interest groups.”
The lawmakers then ask:
- What date did the CDC share its draft school reopening guidance with the AFT?
- How many conversations did you or other CDC officials have with Randi Weingarten or AFT officials about the CDC’s guidance prior to its release on February 12, 2021?
- Did you have a conversation with Becky Pringle, President of the NEA, on February 1, 2021? If so, did you make any commitments to specific language or recommendations the CDC would include in its updated school guidance?
- What date did the CDC share its draft school reopening guidance with NEA?
- Did the CDC share its draft school reopening guidance with any other political interest group for input prior to releasing it on February 12, 2021? If so, please identify who and when.
- Please identify all organizations, entities, groups, or other “stakeholders” the CDC shared an advanced copy of the school guidance to for input and disclose when it was shared with the organization, entity, group, or “stakeholder.”
- Did anyone outside the CDC instruct the agency to discuss the draft guidance with the AFT, the NEA, or any other political stakeholder prior to its release on February 12, 2021? If so, please identify who instructed you to and when.
- Did anyone outside the CDC instruct the agency to incorporate feedback from the AFT, the NEA, or any other political stakeholder in your February 12, 2021 guidance?
The leaders request that Dr. Walensky respond by May 19, 2021.
To read the letter, click HERE.