House Republicans uncover lack of supervision in NIAID research funding, question ex-director Fauci

'Dr. Fauci’s testimony today uncovered drastic and systemic failures in America’s public health systems. While leading the nation’s COVID-19 response and influencing public narratives, he simultaneously had no idea what was happening under his own jurisdiction at NIAID,' Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) said.

House Republicans uncover lack of supervision in NIAID research funding, question ex-director Fauci
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
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House Republicans disclosed a lack of oversight in the supervision of research funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during the initial day of a two-day session interviewing the agency's ex-director, Anthony Fauci.

“Dr. Fauci’s testimony today uncovered drastic and systemic failures in America’s public health systems. While leading the nation’s COVID-19 response and influencing public narratives, he simultaneously had no idea what was happening under his own jurisdiction at NIAID,” Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) said.

Fauci, having headed the biggest division of the National Institutes of Health for more than 35 years, serves as a crucial witness for the Republicans in their inquiry into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, the Washington Examiner reports.

In August, the Republican members of the subcommittee released a report indicating that Fauci played a key role in the creation and release of a scientific article in Nature Medicine. This paper allegedly refuted the theory that the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a facility that received indirect NIH funding via the private research organization EcoHealth Alliance.

Wenstrup stated that during his testimony on Monday, Fauci confirmed he approved all foreign and domestic research grants during his time at the NIH without individually examining the proposals. Furthermore, Wenstrup noted that Fauci was unable to detail any method that would enable the NIAID to oversee foreign labs receiving funding from the United States.

“Clearly, the American people and the United States government are operating with completely different expectations about the responsibilities of our public health leaders and the accountability of our public health agencies,” Wenstrup stated.

Raul Ruiz, the leading Democrat on the committee, strongly criticized the GOP's efforts to interrogate Fauci, labeling it as a political maneuver.

Regarding Monday's interview, Ruiz stated that it demonstrated the absence of any concealment regarding the origins of COVID-19 or the suppression of the lab leak theory by Fauci.

Ruiz mentioned that the Democrats on the subcommittee are concentrating on evaluating "lessons learned" from the current situation, with the aim of applying these insights to handle future epidemics and pandemics, "regardless of this origin."

Ruiz was absent on Monday but plans to be present at Tuesday's session. Representatives Debbie Dingell and Kathy Castor were the minority's representatives on Monday.

The Republican members of the subcommittee reported that Fauci stated he "did not recall" more than 100 details related to the COVID-19 pandemic raised by the majority.

Wenstrup expressed concern over the fact that Fauci, who was the forefront figure in the country's response to the most severe public health crisis, "does not recall" crucial information about the origins of COVID-19 and policies during the pandemic.

The chairman stated his plan to persist with the second day of questioning, aiming to delve deeper into Fauci's perspectives on masking and lockdown strategies, as well as vaccine mandates.

“Nearly 1.2 million Americans lost their lives to a potentially preventable pandemic,” Wenstrup said. “[Tuesday’s] testimony will continue the Select Subcommittee’s effort to deliver the answers Americans demand and deserve.”

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