Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement today after the Biden administration declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the current monkeypox outbreak in the United States.
“After months of delay, Secretary Becerra and the Biden administration have declared the current monkeypox outbreak to be a public health emergency in the United States. It didn’t have to be this way. The declaration of a PHE is an admission by this administration of its abject failure to get this disease under control. When COVID-19 appeared on the world stage, we didn’t know what it was. We didn’t have diagnostic tests, therapeutics, or vaccines. For monkeypox, we had an already developed test, vaccines, and other medical countermeasures. Given we already had these tools and the hard-earned lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no excuse for the slow response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Congress must do its job and conduct proper oversight. I urge Chairman Pallone to immediately hold hearings to examine the current outbreak and the administration’s response.”
NOTE: The first monkeypox case in the U.S. in the current outbreak was on May 18, 2022. According to the CDC, as of August 3, 2022, there are more than 6,600 monkeypox cases in the U.S. Given the CDC’s slow response to ramp up diagnostic testing, that is likely a vast undercount of cases.