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House GOP tees up first hearing on Biden’s COVID response

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House Republicans are planning their first hearings on the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response, summoning top federal health officials to Congress to testify in the coming weeks.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is planning to interrogate officials from federal agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), according to Bloomberg. The hearing is set for Feb. 8.

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell is slated to appear at the hearing, an ASPR spokesperson confirmed to The Hill.  CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will also testify at the hearing, her office confirmed to The Hill. The NIH also confirmed it would have a representative present.

“In her testimony, Dr. Walensky will highlight the agency’s work moving forward to better prepare CDC and the nation against emerging health threats,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “She will lay out the significant progress made since she announced the reform initiative in August and once again call on congressional support for new data and workforce authorities.”

Republicans promised vigorous oversight of the Biden administration and federal government in their campaign to retake the House in the midterms. Now with a slim majority, the GOP will attempt to make good on that promise after years of accusing Democrats and the Biden administration of overstepping with vaccines and masking mandates.

Republicans on the Energy and Commerce panel, led by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), have also asked FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak to appear, according to Bloomberg.

The FDA and Energy and Commerce Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Updated at 6:34 p.m.

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