ouse Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on his lack of leadership during a public health crisis.

LETTER EXCERPT: “We write to request that you provide information and documents to address concerns about your leadership as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It appears your leadership has largely been missing, which is particularly concerning given the administration’s careless response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, NBC News reported last month about your low profile as HHS Secretary and noted that since you were sworn in, you had yet to appear at a White House or COVID-19 media briefing. In fact, your first visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was eight months into the job.

“Additionally, NBC News reported that ‘conversations with six former senior health policy officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations, as well as three people closely familiar with the agency’s activities, reveal that they are mystified about why Becerra’s leadership has been, as several of them put it, ‘invisible.’’ Oddly, when the public online HHS Employee Directory is queried, there are no matching records for your name, and White House visitor logs indicate that you have not visited the White House since you were confirmed as HHS Secretary.”

The Leaders finally ask Secretary Becerra to provide answers to several questions by February 14, 2022, on his tenure at HHS, including:

  • How many in-person meetings at the White House have you attended related to the COVID-19 pandemic response?  What were the dates of the meetings?  Who were the visitees?
  • How many times have you met in-person with the President related to the COVID-19 pandemic response and when were these meetings?
  • How many times and when have you visited the NIH, CDC, and FDA?
  • How many days have you worked in Washington, D.C.?  How many days have you worked in California? Please produce your HHS calendars and schedules.
  • For your travel as HHS Secretary, how many trips have you taken? How many of these trips started in a work location other than Washington, D.C.? How many of these trips ended in a work location other than HHS headquarters? Please provide the travel records to support your responses.
  • To the extent you are working in California or at another alternative work location other than HHS headquarters, how much additional travel expense has been incurred because you are working in California or an alternative location instead of HHS headquarters?
  • How many classified briefings have you attended? Did any of these classified briefings relate to the COVID-19 pandemic?  Have you received classified briefing(s) on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic?

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