Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to pass a resolution by unanimous consent Wednesday calling on the Centers for Disease Control to release a report on how to reopen the economy. Republicans objected to the motion.
The White House has come under scrutiny after CDC guidelines under development were never released, while the White House claims the guidance was never final.
"Americans learned that the Trump White House had blocked release by the Centers for Disease Control of a document that contained guidance for safely reopening up the country," Schumer said. "According to media reports, this guidance was painstakingly prepared by the CDC to help the country determine when and how to begin easing social distancing."
He went on to say, "It's become painfully clear over the last few months how unfamiliar [the president] is with the disciplines of science and medicine. Anybody who would say, 'Drink bleach, use bleach to protect yourself' is not much of a medical expert. So, it's difficult — if not impossible — to imagine any legitimate constructive purpose in a desire by the president or his staff to edit the CDC work."
The Associated Press first reported the Trump administration shelved the guidance document with step-by-step guidance for local authorities, which was supposed to be published by now. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the guidance hadn't been approved by CDC Director Robert Redfield. And Redfield said the guidance was in draft form. But emails obtained by the Associated Press suggest Redford did sign off on the guidance.
The president has wanted to leave decisions on when and how to reopen to states to governors, as concerns build over the possibility of spikes in coronavirus cases as business resumes. Dr. Anthony Fauci, top infectious diseases expert, expressed those very concerns in a virtual hearing on Tuesday.
If "states or cities or regions" disregard the government's "checkpoints" on when it's safe to pull back from mitigation measures,that "there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control, which, in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery."
— CBS News' John Nolen and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report