E&C Republicans: HHS Failed to Follow Constitution and the Law
House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, led by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today held a press conference on Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra’s failure to lawfully reappoint key National Institutes of Health (NIH) officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Below are highlights of the press conference:
“We're here today because HHS Secretary Becerra has failed to follow the Constitution and the law. There's been a complete breakdown of accountability at the agency that has lost the trust of the American people, especially during COVID-19.
“14 NIH officials, including Dr. Fauci, held unlawful positions and exercised authority that they didn't have, which included approving $26 billion in grants.
“This is unprecedented, and it calls into question the validity of every decision that these officials have made since December 2021 to June 2023, including Dr. Fauci awarding a new grant to EcoHealth Alliance. But what is even more egregious has been Health and Human Services’ cover up.
“For more than a year, the administration has misled our committee throughout this investigation, and our question has been a pretty simple one: Can you show us the documents that prove Secretary Becerra followed the Constitution and the law in reappointing these 14 senior officials who exercise immense power and authority?”
“There needs to be accountability. No one is above the law. Americans need to know that their tax dollars are being spent responsibly, effectively, and lawfully and that the people making these decisions are lawfully authorized to make them.”
OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR GRIFFITH:
“The idea was let's take a look at various bureaucrats and make sure that they're being reappointed---not reappointed as a matter of course and not reappointed by somebody below the Secretary... And we didn't see any evidence of [proper reappointments].
“So, we wrote a letter 16 months ago and said, …"These [NIH officials] don't appear to have been reappointed.’ And [HHS] basically played a shell game since then until a couple of weeks ago saying ‘oh, it's all right. Everything's okay. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. It's all fine.’
“And then suddenly, eventually they must have gotten around to realizing they were in violation of the law, and so they tried to do it retroactively.”
“It could have been two and a half months of fixing the problem … Instead, we have a year a half.”
HEALTH SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR GUTHRIE:
“For more than a year, Dr. Fauci, a highly paid public employee at the time, served unlawfully and without proper appointment. It was during this period he awarded a new grant to EcoHealth Alliance and served as the chief medical adviser to President Biden's COVID-19 Response Team.
“In this role as top COVID advisor, he used his position to recommend mandates.
“It is unfair to the American people that, while he held this position unlawfully, he used his platform to be the voice of science and shame those with alternative point of views in addition to pushing for questionable public health guidance policies.
“This is a complete breakdown of accountability at an agency that has lost the American people's trust, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic. This also calls into question every decision each one of these 14 individuals made during the time.
“Greater accountability is needed.”
CLICK HERE to read Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley’s analysis of the Committee’s investigation.
CLICK HERE to read more about the Committee’s investigation.
CLICK HERE to watch the full press conference.