Washington — The newly formed House subcommittee tasked with overseeing theresponse is holding its first briefing on reopening the economy amid the pandemic, with five experts set to speak to lawmakers Wednesday afternoon.
Congressman Steve Scalise, the ranking member of the panel, revealed that all the Republican members of the committee were in one room together, to show that social distancing could be accomplished if the House returned to the Capitol. Other members of the committee and the panelists in the hearing were patched in remotely.
The virus has exacted a personal toll on Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, who sits on the subcommittee. She revealed last week that her sister died of COVID-19.
The committee, formally known as the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, is hearing from a bipartisan panel of experts, but no one from the administration will be in attendance. The White House has declined to make officials available for testimony before the House, which is controlled by Democrats.
Witnesses in Wednesday's briefing, scheduled for 3 p.m., include:
- Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner
- Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioner
- Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute
- Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association
The hearing comes one day after several administration officialsbefore a Senate committee, including CDC Director Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
How to watch today's briefing
- What: The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis holds its first briefing.
- When: Wednesday, May 13, 2020
- Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Where: The Capitol, Washington, D.C.
- How to watch: On CBSN in the player above or on your mobile streaming device.
The Trump administration blocked Fauci from appearing before a House committee to discuss spending on coronavirus testing earlier this month. President Trump told reporters last week that he doesn't want officials appearing before House Democrats, who hold the majority.
"The House is a setup," Mr. Trump said. "The House is a bunch of Trump haters."
The White House Office of Legislative Affairs sent a memo to all House and Senate committee staff directors last week that bars all members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force from appearing before a congressional committee without the permission of chief of staff Mark Meadows.