President Trump Calls Emergency Meeting Of Top U.S. Health Officials; Nation’s COVID-19 Response Hurt By Lack Of Funding, House Lawmakers Hear

CNBC: Trump calls emergency meeting with top U.S. health officials at the White House Wednesday
“President Donald Trump has called top U.S. health officials to an emergency meeting at the White House Wednesday morning, cutting a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill short, said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee…” (Higgins-Dunn/Lovelace, 3/11).

CNBC: Coronavirus response hurt by lack of funding for public health labs, CDC director tells Congress
“Lack of funding has hampered the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told lawmakers Tuesday. The hearing in the House was originally intended to address concerns about the CDC’s 2021 budget. But lawmakers’ questions for Director Robert Redfield focused more specifically on the outbreak, particularly regarding the slow rollout of tests across the country. ‘The truth is we’ve underinvested in the public health labs,’ Redfield told them…” (Hirsch/Dzhanova, 3/10).

The Hill: Trump, GOP seek way forward on coronavirus
“President Trump and Senate Republicans held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the administration’s response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has stunned the United States and roiled financial markets. Trump only met with GOP lawmakers, a surprising decision given that some of the states hardest hit by the health crisis, such as California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, are represented entirely by Democrats in the Senate. Past crises, such as the Sept. 11,2001, attacks and the 2008 financial crisis, have brought the parties together on Capitol Hill, but this time has been different…” (Bolton, 3/10).

POLITICO: Exclusive: Email crash impeded HHS response to coronavirus
“As health department officials worked quickly to negotiate an emergency funding package to fight the spreading coronavirus outbreak on Feb. 23, they came to a frustrating realization: Their email system had crashed. The outage in the Health and Human Services secretary’s office stretched on much of the day, with some messages delayed up to 11 hours, creating frustration and slowing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response…” (Diamond, 3/10).

Washington Post: GOP congressman — who warned Trump about pandemics — offers pointed criticism of proposed CDC cuts
“…[At a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)] said that the outbreak of coronavirus is a ‘sort of vindication of the bipartisan judgment over the last several years that this was really an area we needed to make investments.’ Cole didn’t call out the Trump administration or the president by name, but it was clear that he was referencing the steep cuts the White House has proposed to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health in each of its four proposed budgets thus far. It’s important to note that Congress has fended off these proposed cuts, often increasing funding to the programs anyway in the appropriations bills…” (Blake, 3/10).

Additional coverage of the U.S. government response to COVID-19 is available from C-SPAN, Democracy Now!, MedPage Today, POLITICO, Reuters (2), and Roll Call.

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