Rand Paul, Chip Roy Bring Bill to Break Apart Government Health Agency Led by Fauci

Rand Paul, Chip Roy Bring Bill to Break Apart Government Health Agency Led by Fauci
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questions Dr. Anthony Fauci at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Jan. 11, 2022. (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)
Ryan Morgan
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) introduced a bill on Thursday that would break apart the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which Dr. Anthony Fauci previously led.
Dubbed the “NIH Reform Act,” the bill would break apart NIAID, which is a component agency of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The bill would reallocate the various responsibilities of NIAID into three new separate national research institutes: the National Institute of Allergic Diseases; the National Institute of Infectious Diseases; and the National Institute of Immunologic Diseases.
Furthermore, the bill would require that the directors of these three new research institutes be subject to a Senate confirmation process, with the directors limited to no more than two five-year terms. In calling for these term limits and Senate confirmation requirements, the Republican lawmakers noted that the NIAID’s previous director, Fauci, had served for nearly four decades before retiring around the end of last year.

“Dr. Anthony Fauci was Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for over 38 years—longer than J. Edgar Hoover was Director of the FBI,” the lawmakers wrote. “By the time he retired, he was the highest paid official in the entire federal government. Yet the Senate never voted to confirm him once. The law does not require Senate confirmation of the NIAID Director.”

Paul and Roy are among a group of Republican lawmakers that have been vocal critics of Fauci, particularly in his leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic and his support for lockdowns, masking, and vaccine mandates.

“We’ve learned a lot over the past few years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator-in-chief.’ No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,” said Paul, an ophthalmologist. “To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I’ve introduced this bill to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s previous position as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and divide the role into three separate new institutes.”

Paul went on to describe the NIAID directorship as a “taxpayer funded position that has largely abused its power and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Roy said that “unaccountable public health bureaucracies proved themselves far more adept at ruining lives than saving them.”

The Republican lawmakers said the reforms they are proposing are nothing new, noting the FBI director position was limited to a single 10-year term after Hoover’s tenure with the agency and Congress eliminated one NIH center in 2012, to replace it with another.

“Breaking up Dr. Fauci’s taxpayer funded bully pulpit into three separate agencies—and requiring Senate confirmation for all their future directors—is one of many actions necessary to allow the American people to hold public health agencies accountable,” Roy added.

Paul and Roy introduced their bill with the support of Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)

NTD reached out to NIAID for comment but the organization did not respond before press time.

Paul repeatedly sparred with Fauci during the NIAID director’s final months in office. Paul questioned Fauci over the more than $193 million in royalty payments that NIH employees received between 2010 and 2016. The senator also raised allegations that the NIH was involved in gain-of-function research at a virology lab in Wuhan, China, the city where the first COVID-19 cases were reported. Gain-of-function is the modification of bacteria and viruses to increase their transmissibility or virulence. Fauci has denied that the NIH funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.