(The Center Square) – Following a letter sent out July 7th, members of the Energy and Commerce Committee held a news conference last week on what they said was Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra’s failure to lawfully reappoint 14 National Institutes of Health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Following a bipartisan law passed in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act, the Secretary of the HHS had to reappoint NIH Institute and Center Directors every five years, starting with those whose terms would expire in December 2021.
“There’s been a complete breakdown of accountability at the agency that has lost the trust of the American people, especially during COVID-19,” Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said at the news conference. “14 NIH officials, including Dr. Fauci, held unlawful positions and exercised authority that they didn’t have, which included approving $26 billion in grants.”
Rodgers mentioned that the NIH had misled the committee for over a year throughout the investigation. She claimed that the request “has been a pretty simple one,” that being to provide documents proving Becerra reappointed the officials.
“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,” Rodgers said.
Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., said in the conference that every decision each official made after 2021 should be called into question. He specifically called out Fauci.
“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,” Guthrie said.
The committee also announced plans to hold a hearing for Becerra at the end of the month.