White House prevents CDC from testifying about reopening of schools next week

(CNN) — The White House is preventing Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other officials at the institution from testifying next week at a hearing. of the Education and Labor Commission of the House of Representatives on the reopening of schools, precisely when the debate on the return of children to classrooms flared up throughout the country.

White House officials informed the commission of their decision in an email, a staff member of the House of Representatives panel told CNN.

“Dr. Redfield has testified on Capitol Hill at least four times in the past three months. We need our doctors to be focused on responding to the pandemic, ”said a White House official, confirming the decision to block CDC’s participation in the hearing.

However, a spokesman for the House of Representatives Education and Labor Commission said the panel had requested testimony from any CDC official, not necessarily from Redfield.

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“We asked any of the CDC to testify at the hearing. The invitation was not for Dr. Redfield or anyone (specifically), “said the official.

House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor Commission Bobby Scott said the testimony of CDC officials is critical to understanding how scientists would handle the reopening of schools in the United States.

“It is alarming that the Trump administration is preventing CDC from appearing before the commission at a time when its experience and guidance is so central to the health and safety of students, parents and educators,” said the Virginia Democrat in a statement.

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CDC officials have delayed publication of new recommendations to send children back to classrooms.

Earlier this week, Redfield emphasized wearing masks as a key component of any strategy to reopen schools.

“Because for me, facial coverage is the key. If you really look at the data, it’s really clear, (the masks) work, ”said Redfield.

Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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