(Bloomberg) — A House Oversight subcommittee wants two federal health agencies at the fore of the U.S. coronavirus response to disclose information about the White House’s involvement in scientific decisions, according to letters reviewed by Bloomberg News.
The letters addressed to the leaders of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seek documents about agency actions submitted to the White House for review, including communications, comments, first drafts and documents that show changes made during the review process.
The letters sent Monday are signed by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat who is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The subcommittee’s letters express concern about the influence of non-scientists and political appointees over public-health decisions, including how the FDA will assess experimental coronavirus vaccines now in trials. The letter to the CDC asks about what it calls “White House censorship” of CDC guidance.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that a coronavirus vaccine will be widely available faster than top government scientists say is likely. The FDA has been expected to issue final guidelines on how vaccines may be cleared for emergency use, a document intended to assuage concerns that a shot might be rushed to market for political reasons.
Trump said last month that the White House might not approve the FDA’s guidelines for vaccine authorization. They haven’t been published as of Monday morning. Krishnamoorthi asked the