HomeWashington Letter2020 ▶ NIAID Director Fauci Testifies Before Senate Panel
NIAID Director Fauci Testifies Before Senate Panel

Last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), held a hearing entitled, COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School. The hearing featured testimony from the following HHS officials:

  • Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration
  • Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for Health.

In his opening statement, Sen. Alexander emphasized that one of the keys to reopening the economy is COVID-19 testing, stating his belief that current testing capacity “is not nearly enough.” He went on to state that the hearing is not to place blame, but to look forward by identifying opportunities to enhance current capabilities, develop new capabilities, and (in general) ensure we are prepared for the next pandemic. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) took a contrasting tone with a withering criticism of the administration’s management of the COVID-19 response. Key items from the hearing include:

  • CDC Director Dr. Redfield used his testimony to call for rebuilding the nation’s public health infrastructure and to bolster our public health workforce.
  • NIAID Director Dr. Fauci discussed the promise and progress of the new RADx initiative while seeking to establish a realistic timeline and goals for the response effort.

All witnesses reiterated ongoing administration policy and efforts, such as the emerging testing blueprint. For additional information, the combined written statement of all witnesses is attached.

Last Reviewed: May 2020