House Republican Whip and Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) opening statement at a Select Subcommittee’s hearing calls out President Biden for breaking his promise to “shut down the virus” and saying there “is no federal solution” to defeat COVID. Whip Scalise urges President Biden to listen to medical experts, instead of teacher union bosses, on whether or not students should return to school. In addition, Whip Scalise once again calls on the Select Subcommittee Democrats to hold a hearing about the origins of the coronavirus and the Biden Administration’s horrific track record during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
“I want to welcome and thank each of the witnesses for taking the time to be with us today.
“Today marks one year since Joe Biden took the oath of office as President. Sadly, thus far, his presidency is marked by his many failures and broken promises. Chief among them is his failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He promised Americans that he would ‘shut down the virus.’ Yet, despite inheriting three safe and effective vaccines, numerous proven treatments and therapeutics, millions with natural immunity, and a well-established testing apparatus, the United States is hitting record highs for new cases, testing shortages and delays, and there have been more deaths under President Biden than President Trump.
“I’d like to play a video for everyone.
“A signature feature of then-candidate Biden’s campaign was a top-down federal solution to the pandemic. He routinely stressed the need for a national plan.
“On August 18, 2020, he said, ‘Donald Trump still doesn’t have a plan to get this virus under control. His failure to lead is costing American lives.’
“On October 15, 2020, he said, ‘[w] e’re eight months into this pandemic, and Donald Trump still doesn’t have a plan to get this virus under control. I do.’
“Nevermind the fact that President Trump had a very successful plan called Operation Warp Speed, which yielded three safe and effective vaccines, multiple therapies like monoclonal antibodies, and he stood up a robust testing network nationwide.
“On President Biden’s first full day in office, he released a 200-page document titled ‘National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness’ and said, ‘[f]or the past year, we could not turn to the federal government for a national plan to answer prayers with action—until today.’
“But just a few weeks ago, in a stunning reversal, after almost a year of broken promises and the virus raging worse than ever before, President Biden reversed course and abandoned his plan. On December 27, 2021, President Biden said, ‘[t]here is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level.’
“I’m guessing that’s why the Select Subcommittee is having this particular hearing today— ‘A View from the States: Governors Respond to the Omicron Variant.’
“After campaigning on a national plan and Congressional Democrats, including many on this committee, calling for a national plan, Democrats have abandoned any hint of a plan and instead are trying to dump their failures into your laps.
“Ironically, Biden’s first goal in his national strategy was to ‘restore trust with the American people.’ Yet, his policies show he does not trust the American people.
“He does not trust the American people enough to be transparent about the policies and decisions his administration is making and the data they use to make those decisions. He does not trust the American people to make their own health care decisions. He does not trust health care workers to make their own health care decisions. He does not trust parents to make decisions about what is best for their children. He does not trust businesses to make decisions about the welfare of their employees. Trust is a two-way street, and this is but one reason why his COVID response is in tatters.
“Instead of trying to patch the holes in the Biden Administration’s messaging, this subcommittee should be fulfilling its stated purpose—performing congressional oversight of the COVID-19 response. The list of issues we should be having hearings on is incredibly long. I’ll just name a few:
- The Biden Administration’s inaction with procuring tests and rejection of a plan from last October to provide millions of rapid tests in time for the holidays. Americans are still struggling through testing delays and shortages. Unfortunately, the administration’s new approach of mailing out four tests to each house after the omicron surge has passed is too little and far too late. And nobody has been held accountable for President Biden’s rejection of a testing plan in October.
- President Biden’s plan of shaming and blaming the unvaccinated instead of focusing on a science-driven approach, to include vaccination and natural immunity, is undermining trust and dividing Americans.
- The Biden Administration commandeered the distribution of monoclonal antibodies causing states to jump through more hoops and made it harder for states to get access to lifesaving treatments.
- Despite spending about $200 billion to safely reopen schools, more than 5,000 schools have had some type of shutdown this month. Why isn’t every school open? We need to have a hearing to examine the severe student learning loss caused by remote and hybrid learning. If a school took the money to reopen, and then closed its doors, shouldn’t they have to give the money back?
- And let’s not forget that the teachers unions were caught manipulating CDC guidance on school reopening.
- The World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control do not recommend masking kids under six. Why is America masking kids without evidence, and what impact is it having on their emotional and social development? What could be more important than protecting the future mental health of America’s kids?
- The Biden Administration has been sidelining the science on boosters. First, in the summer of 2021, the Biden Administration announced the availability of booster shots for all adults by September 2021. But amazingly, they made this announcement before the FDA and the CDC finished reviewing the data to determine the need for booster shots. Because of this, two senior FDA officials reportedly left the agency amid alarming reports of political interference. This was obviously very confusing for the public.
- Most recently, President Biden’s Administration chose to add to the confusion by bypassing the FDA’s and CDC’s long-established vaccine advisory committee process for updating booster shot eligibility.
- Then there’s ‘Biden’s Operation Snail Speed on Covid Therapies,’ as the Wall Street Journal editorial board called it. Instead of taking a multifaceted approach to ending the pandemic, President Biden went all in on vaccines and neglected to focus on therapeutics and natural immunity. In fact, one year after taking office, President Biden still does not have a confirmed FDA Commissioner on the job.
- Republicans on the Select Subcommittee are still the only ones in Congress to hold a hearing on the origins of COVID-19; Democrats have refused to do so. We need to know where this virus came from to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. America should absolutely hold China accountable for lying to the world and hoarding PPE.
- The U.S. appears to have funded gain of function research at the Wuhan lab in China. Taxpayers should know the truth about that and we should have a debate and discussion about whether to fund these types of research programs in the future.
- Lastly, newly released unredacted emails show Drs. Fauci and Collins were warned that COVID-19 came from the Wuhan Lab in February of 2020 and worked to stifle the hypothesis.
“We need to do our jobs. COVID-19 and the response from government has had an impact on every American. It has cost more than 853,000 lives and nearly $6 trillion. This committee is derelict in its duty to the American people if we sit idly by as the Biden Administration keeps fumbling the pandemic response.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.”