The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to face pressure following reports that their school reopening guidelines may have been influenced by a major teachers’ union.
A group of Republican members of Congress is now demanding an investigation into the agency’s practices.
The story: As we reported last week, communications obtained by the New York Post earlier this month showed that in February, days before releasing new guidelines about school reopening, the CDC engaged in extensive communications with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which appeared to influence the CDC’s rules concerning in-person learning,
The communications showed the CDC was willing to allow schools to reopen, but after the AFT intervened, the agency added a provision that said, “In the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.”
The AFT also asked that teachers and staff “who have documented high-risk conditions or who are at increased risk” be allowed to work from home.
The revelation the CDC’s decisions may have been affected by the AFT set off a flurry of accusations against the agency that it was catering to political organizations.
AFT President Randi Weingarten defended the CDC’s actions, while the White House called the communications between the groups a “longstanding” practice.
On Wednesday, Republican leaders on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees called for an investigation into the CDC’s practices.
In their letter to the CDC, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan of Ohio, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer of Kentucky, and House Education and Labor Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx, of Noth Carolina, accused the agency of putting “political obedience to Democrat-aligned special interest groups” ahead of “our nation’s youth.”
The Republicans called on the CDC to release all communications “between or among employees, contractors and representatives of the CDC and representatives of any teacher’s union,” according to Fox News.
“President Biden promised to reopen schools within 100 days of his Administration. He also promised to follow the science regarding COVID-19,” the letter added. “Your political obedience to Democrat-aligned special interest groups breaks both those promises.
The letter continues: “Despite your assertion that the CDC’s guidance is free ‘of political meddling,’ recently released emails reportedly show that the CDC has been taking its cues from teachers’ unions instead of following the science. This political interference has resulted in months-long delays in the opening of schools to the detriment of American children.”
The lawmakers gave the CDC until May 26 to provide the records that they say would expose the scope of “the influence of these special interest groups on the CDC’s guidance.”
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Author: Damjan Tutarkov
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