Rep. Rosa DeLauro (L)

Washington—Several House Republicans left a closed-door coronavirus briefing on Friday after Rep. Rosa DeLauro spoke critically of the Trump administration’s efforts to protect the American public from the global epidemic.

According to a transcript, DeLauro, D-3rd District, said she supported the administration’s declaration of a public health emergency that allows states like Connecticut more flexibility in spending federal public health money.

“That said, I have grave concerns about the lack of transparency and unwillingness to allow public health experts to speak freely about what is happening,” DeLauro said. There are reports that Vice President Mike Pence, appointed by President Donald Trump to lead the coronavirus response, wants to coordinate all messaging from public health officials about the virus.

DeLauro, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services budget, also said, “I have serious concerns about the administration’s responsiveness with respect to funding.”

“We have repeatedly asked for information about expenditures,” she said. “And thus far, we have not received adequate answers.”

“I have grave concerns about the lack of transparency and unwillingness to allow public health experts to speak freely about what is happening.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

According to POLITICO, some Republicans booed DeLauro as she spoke.

Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., who was among the GOP walkouts, said, “If I wanted to hear the politics of it, I’d read POLITICO or something.”

In the closed-door briefing, DeLauro repeated what she said at her hearing on Tuesday on the White House’s request for $2.5 billion in emergency spending to combat coronavirus, reiterating that the request did not have supporting documentation, “which we need immediately.”

She also again slammed the administration’s plan to allocate half of the money it wanted to spend on coronavirus by shifting money from other HHS programs, including the Ebola program, federal heating aid for low and moderate-income Americans and the National Cancer Institute.

“A request that transfers resources from other significant health necessities is unacceptable,” DeLauro said.

Democrats in the House and Senate have called for spending $8.5 billion on coronavirus without transferring funds from other programs.

The administration officials at the briefing included acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Anthony Fauci, a top official at the National Institutes of Health, and Federal Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

Most of them said the risk to Americans remained low. But Fauci told lawmakers they need to accept that there will be many more cases in the United States and that the coronavirus is “unlikely to disappear” anytime in the near future.

Meanwhile Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters Friday that there are 62 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, including one in Northern California.

That woman was not tested when clinicians requested it because she did not meet strict CDC criteria that recommended testing only those with symptoms who recently returned from China, or who had close contact with a person confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, a new name for coronavirus.

Messonnier said the woman could be the first case of “community spread” of coronavirus in the United States.

The Northern California case underscores the limited availability of tests.

The CDC  shipped several testing kits to state labs, but they were then determined to have a  problematic component.

“This has not gone as smoothly as we would have liked,” Messonnier said.

She said the CDC has determined states do not need to use that third, faulty component and is now shipping out test kits to public labs that only have two components.

“The third component can be excluded without affecting accuracy,” Messonnier said.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health said it had received test kits, to be deployed at the state lab in Rocky Hill. Each kit can test up to 800 patients.

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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10 Comments

    1. Trump was handed an economy that was growing. In 2017, his first year in office the deficit grew to $666 billion, was $984 billion last year and is projected to be over $1 trillion in 2020 at $1.02 trillion. This would be a 74% increase in just four years.

      “I could get rid of the entire deficit fairly quickly, I would say over a period of eight years.”; Donald Trump, March 7, 2016

      1. And yet you remained silent during the nearly doubling of our national debt between 2008 and 2016. The national debt ticking time bomb is a truly bi-partisan effort! Reminder Congress spends and despite increased tax revenue they continue to spend more than what comes in. For all the years Rosa DeLauro has represented CT are we better off economically? Time for change or else the exodus will continue.

      2. Obama spent his on getting us out of the worst recession since the 40’s and 2 wars he inherited that were put on VISA and MasterCard by prior Administration.

  1. It’s not Trump’s fault this virus exists. But the only thing a President has in time of crisis is his credibility. And he doesn’t have any. Maybe to his Base/diehard supporters all the lies and stuff he just makes up seemed minor and didn’t matter all the while, but when a crisis hits the one thing a leader has is his credibility or the lack thereof. Trump has lied so much about so much that when he tells us his response to the virus has been “incredible” and “great” and “fantastic” and “we have it totally under control” when obviously that is not the case, people are going to think just the opposite.

  2. Rosa shows the desperation in the Party hierarchy (nee pal Pelosi) to counteract and destroy the President with every opportunity. On consensus, this should be a bipartisan effort to protect all Americans. The disgust, shown by no friend of Republicans, Donna Shalala is telling.

  3. Pelosi complained that Trump asked for less than the $5B allocated for Ebola, which still hasn’t been spent! DeLauro Like Pelosi hasn’t a leg to stand on. They simply love trashing Trump (TDS) and spending other people’s money.

  4. Not a DeLauro fan, but I do agree with her on one thing: information to the public regarding coronavirus (or any other health issue) should come from the medical professionals, not politically filtered through the VP. People in China are protesting that government’s mishandling of the crisis there and the controlling of information about the virus. The Chinese government downplayed the severity of the outbreak there and suppressed the dissemination of information. So what is the US doing? The same thing, if Pence is controlling the “messaging”.

  5. The scary thing about Trump is he thinks he knows a whole lot more than he actually knows. He is a big know it all on everything and anything. He said he was going to surround himself with all the best people in his Administration of elected. And he has done just the opposite. He’s gutted health infrastructure even apparently. Nobody could work with the guy anyways. He doesn’t listen, he doesn’t read, his lack of knowledge for the position of President is incredible. He surrounds himself with political cronies and yes men, folks totally non qualified. Great yet another example is tapping John Redcliffe for Director of National Intelligence this past week. Political pitbull for Trump who embarrassed himself repeatedly during impeachment trial with ludicrous statements and reasoning skills. No experience and lied on his resume. But Trump has run out of people who will work with and for him. If he ever wins another term, no idea who will be willing to put up with him. Certainly not qualified people, who have any sense of dignity.

  6. Sunday night Trump said “Gallup Poll numbers on the handling of this situation are outstanding, the best. Thank you!”

    That poll was from 3 weeks ago!

    This guy is unbelievably deceitful; there just aren’t any words to describe him anymore (not that there have been for a long, long time)

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