Eshoo Holds Hearing on the Administration’s Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak and Proposed Health Budget Cuts

February 26, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) held a two-panel hearing on the Administration’s budget proposal for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, formally known as COVID-19. The panels included HHS Secretary Alex Azar and public health officials tasked with addressing the ongoing outbreak. 

To watch Chairwoman Eshoo’s opening statement, click HERE.

“Confusion is the enemy of preparedness. The Administration’s lack of coordination for the coronavirus response is on full display when we need our government to speak with credibility and authority,” Chairwoman Eshoo said. “The virus triggers fear and the antidote is truth and transparency, including informing the American people of a coordinated, fully-funded government plan to keep us safe.”

Chairwoman Eshoo questioned witnesses about the Administration’s proposed cuts to programs that need adequate funding to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The President’s budget cuts include:

  • Almost $700 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  • $430 million from the National Institute focused on infectious diseases;
  • $3 billion from the government’s global health program.

The witnesses leading the President’s team in charge of the response to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak include National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci; FDA Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Dr. Stephen Hahn; HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Dr. Robert Kaldec; and CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield.

The Congresswoman also questioned Secretary Azar about dangerous funding reductions in the President’s budget to essential health programs. In particular, the Congresswoman highlighted that the President’s budget cuts:

  • Medicare by $500 billion;
  • Medicaid by $920 billion; and
  • Affordable Care Act by $100 billion.

In total, the Administration is seeking to cut $1.6 trillion in funding, jeopardizing the health of the 150 million Americans that use the programs.

Congresswoman Eshoo has been a leader on oversight of the novel coronavirus outbreak, calling for a hearing to address the outbreak and investigations into risks posed to the global medical supply chain.