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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer, R-Ky., fired back at two Democrat leaders after they called the Republicans’ letter demanding a hearing into President Biden’s COVID-19 response “disingenuous.”
The two Republican leaders shot back at House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and House Oversight Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., in Tuesday statements to Fox News after the Democrat leaders took aim at them in a joint statement.
Scalise torched the Biden administration’s “failed COVID response” as being “in tatters” and pointed out that the “fact that they are continuing to perpetuate the false narrative that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated” illustrates a lack of engagement “with facts and data.”
“In fact, President Biden’s own CDC director said the vaccine does not prevent transmission,” Scalise said. “This is the same administration that allowed union bosses to write their own school reopening guidelines and has created mass confusion with their mixed public health messaging.”
“If Democrats on the Committee were truly concerned about misinformation, they would hold an open hearing with Biden administration officials where they can answer questions in full and transparent view of the American people, rather than hiding the facts after failing to ‘shut down the virus,‘ as President Biden promised,” the Republican whip continued. “They have no one to blame but themselves for their many failures and self-created crises that are hurting hardworking families across America.”
Comer demolished Biden over his failed promise “to ‘shut down the virus,’” noting that all the president has “shut down is Americans’ confidence in his ability to lead us out of the pandemic.”
“The Democrats need to stop covering for the Biden administration’s failed COVID response and hiding behind closed door briefings with administration witnesses, like they are doing today,” Comer said in a Tuesday email. “The American people deserve transparency and accountability, but all they’ve gotten from the Biden administration and congressional Democrats are broken promises.”
Clyburn and Maloney gave a joint statement to Fox News in a Tuesday email blasting the Monday letter as “disingenuous” and attacking Republicans as attempting to shift the blame of a loss of vaccine confidence away from them.
“Yesterday’s Republican letter is yet another disingenuous attempt to deflect blame away from Republican irresponsibility that is resulting in the loss of American lives,” the Democrat leaders said. “Republicans and their right-wing disinformation machine are undermining vaccine confidence and then blaming the sitting president for a crisis of the unvaccinated that Republicans created.”
“The science is clear: fully vaccinated Americans are at very low risk of serious disease and death from the coronavirus, while those who remain unvaccinated are tragically continuing to get sick and die in large numbers,” the lawmakers continued.
Clyburn and Maloney lauded Biden’s pandemic response, pointing to “246 million people” receiving the vaccine and the president increasing “the availability of testing, including establishing 20,000 free testing sites and used the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of at-home, rapid tests.”
The Democrat leaders also said the COVID-19 select subcommittee “will hold a member briefing on the response to the omicron variant with three senior administration officials, including CDC Director Rochelle Walensky,” one of the Biden administration officials the Republicans called to testify.
“This briefing follows the 14 hearings and public briefings the Select Subcommittee held last year, including with several of the witnesses that Republicans now demand re-appear,” they concluded. “While we would welcome Republicans’ bipartisan participation in this oversight, we unequivocally reject Republican talking points equating the Biden administration’s science-based response to emerging variants with President Trump’s reckless, politically driven non-response that cost American lives.”
The war of the words between the party leaders comes after Scalise and Comer sent a letter to the pair of Democrat leaders calling for a joint hearing into President Biden’s “failed” COVID-19 pandemic response.
The lawmakers called for a joint hearing regarding the Biden administration’s oversight of the pandemic and demanded a plethora of witnesses appear, including Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, White House COVID response director Jeffrey Zientz, and White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci.