White House limits task force appearances on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON: A White House memo to Congressional committees says that no member of the administration's task force can agree to testify on Capitol Hill unless the invitation is expressly approved by the president's chief of staff.

It bristled at the rule as an obstacle to its ability to gather detailed information on the nation's response to the pandemic.

The memo follows a recent move by the White House to prevent the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr., from testifying before a House panel while allowing him to appear the following week at a Senate hearing. The Senate is in the hands of Trump's Republican allies, while the House is controlled by Democrats.

The memo, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, also seeks to limit the number of coronavirus-related occurrences on Capitol Hill for those in key departments responding to the pandemic.

It states that the demands on agency staff and resources are extraordinary in this current crisis. A senior administration official said members of the task force had been working nonstop since the early days of the coronavirus outbreak and that they needed to focus on the task at hand, not preparing for four-hour hearings several times a week. . The official spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the memo.

House and Senate leaders criticized the measure. President Trump should learn that by silencing science and truth, it will only prolong this health and economic crisis, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.

The fact that the President has not accepted the truth and then his desire to hide it, is one of the main reasons why we are lagging behind so many other countries to overcome this scourge. House President Nancy Pelosi He said on CNN that bills related to the pandemic start in the House and that lawmakers should consult with administration officials on those issues.

She said that the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who until recently served in the House, knew that lawmakers would insist on the truth and that the White House might be afraid of the truth. The fact that they said, 'We are too busy on television to come to the Capitol' is, well, business as usual for them, Pelosi said.

The memo says that given the competitive demands in these unprecedented times, it is reasonable to expect that agencies will have to reject invitations to hearings to stay focused on Covid-19's response, including invitations to participate in multiple hearings on it. o Overlapping themes.