WATCH: Romney Questions Dr. Levine over Closed Schools, Slams Teachers’ Unions

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) slammed teachers’ unions on Thursday during a confirmation hearing for Assistant Secretary for Health nominee Dr. Rachel Levine, saying that Democrats were doing the unions’ bidding in keeping schools closed.

Romney asked Dr. Levine, who was Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, whether there were some school districts that were open for in-person learning in the state. Dr. Levine answered in the affirmative. The exchange went on:

Sen. Romney: Has there been a public health analysis to see those that have been open, has there been a massive spread of COVID that’s different than those that have stayed hybrid or all-remote?

Dr. Levine: I’m not aware of that analysis. But I —

Sen. Romney: Okay. that’s my impression as well, which is across the country we’ve had some school districts open, meaning kids going to school, others absolutely closed, kids only going on remote. The evidence doesn’t show so far that those that have been having kids in classrooms are seeing a spike in COVID cases. There are also countries that kept their schools open. They haven’t seen a spike in COVID cases. I don’t understand why our schools are still closed. I — there are some of us who feel it’s a submission to the teachers’ unions, and because they are such big donors to the Democratic Party that the administration is saying, “Oh, at state levels, at the federal level, we’re not going to push to get our schools open.” But, you know, grocery store workers are working, drug store workers, taxi drivers, EMS workers, health care workers. but there’s just as much a priority for our kids to be educated. And I just can’t understand why, given the fact that the data doesn’t show that there’s a problem for teachers or for families having kids going to school, we’ve got to get our kids into school. The administration is proposing $170 billion going to education as part of the 1.9 [trillion dollar] program. but only 5% of that is getting spent in this year. 95% is for years down the road. It has nothing to do with getting our kids safe and our schools open again. I don’t understand why the administration does not directly encourage all of our school districts to open again. And if we’re going to send out 170 billion, which I don’t support, but we’re going to send out 170 billion, it ought to be linked to them agreeing to get the doors open and get the kids back in the classroom. That’s my chance to make a point, and hopefully you’ll take that point to the administration in the responsibilities you have.

Dr. Levine is the first transgendered nominee for a Cabinet position.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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