The ranking Republican member of the U.S. House Committee on Administration is urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to explain why she has yet to implement a plan for systematically testing all House members, aides, and employees for the CCP virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
“I have stood ready to engage with your office and my counterpart on the Committee on House Administration for months, but my requests have gone unanswered,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said in a blunt letter to Pelosi on Oct. 2.
Davis in July and again last month demanded to know why House Democratic leaders, including Pelosi and Administration panel Chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), have failed to establish a program to ensure maximum safety against the deadly disease in the official work environment of representatives, House employees such as the Capitol Police and Congressional Budget Office, and personal and committee staff aides.
“While I appreciate that the attending physician has been able to conduct COVID-19 testing for Members who have symptoms or have been exposed, provide very limited staff testing, and advise offices on contact tracing, our ability to monitor the health and safety of the House is severely lacking because you have failed to implement a plan,” Davis said in the letter.
“Universities, public institutions, private businesses, and communities across the country have embraced technologies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Yet, the House has failed to adopt similar tools that are now being used nationwide,” he wrote.
Spokesmen for Pelosi didn’t immediately respond to multiple requests from The Epoch Times for comment on Davis’s letter.
As of Oct. 3, at least 72 senators and representatives have either been found to be positive for the disease or have opted to self-quarantine for 14 days after being exposed to another individual who had the virus.
Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin confirmed they tested positive last week. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) is the most recent House member to test positive, with her announcement coming Sept. 20.
“As testing has advanced and become more readily available, the House’s posture on testing has not evolved from where we were months ago,” Davis continued in his letter to Pelosi.
Additional testing methods recently announced by the Office of the Attending Physician (OAP) for the House doesn’t equal the kind of comprehensive and systematic testing regime that Davis contends is needed.
“Reports of changes to test offerings by the attending physician announced today are misleading as the criteria for receiving a test from the [OAP] remains largely unchanged. I’m concerned this has created confusion and misled everyone who works on Capitol Hill to believe testing options have been expanded,” Davis wrote.
The Illinois Republican pointed out in his letter that Pelosi has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump for allegedly not doing enough to combat the CCP virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
“This is a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach to governing that has been politicized when policies are inconsistently communicated and enforced and falls short of what our constituents deserve,” Davis told Pelosi.
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Ala.), who tested positive in July, told The Epoch Times on Oct. 5 that he agrees with Davis, and noted that “under Speaker Pelosi’s policy, there is no systematic testing program. When I had COVID in July, there was no known testing on the Hill, so the members of my D.C. staff had to seek tests off the Hill. Some were not able to acquire testing for days.”
Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), who tested positive in April, said Oct. 5 that “we are like a Petri dish up here, with people flying in from all over the country, so it’s not surprising that we get a whole lot of people with COVID.”
Dunn, who is a surgeon, said efforts began in February, soon after the seriousness of the virus became known, to have rapid testing equipment installed in the House.
“Pelosi would not let the [OAP] do it,” Dunn said.
Asked why he thinks the speaker has in the months since then resisted a systematic testing program, Dunn said: “It’s because she wants us to not be in Washington making news and passing laws. The Attending Physician reports to the Speaker, there’s monolithic power there.”
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc