A Republican Study Committee (RSC) policy document argues that holding partisan public health bureaucrats such as Anthony Fauci accountable should be a “major oversight priority” after the 2022 congressional midterms, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
“If Congress fails to hold the Fauci clique accountable, and fails to reform public health agencies, we will be giving far-left bureaucrats a blank check to shut the country down whenever they want to,” RSC Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN) told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement. “We need to send a message that the restrictions, the mandates and the school closures can never happen again.”
The RSC document said that “trust in the public health bureaucracy is at a historic low, and that public health bureaucrats weaponized the public health bureaucracy to advance leftist policy goals.
“For years, the Left has been using ‘public health’ as an excuse to advance its radical agenda,” the memo explained. The RSC said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been turned into “political tools.”
Therefore, the RSC memo declared, “Holding partisan public health bureaucrats accountable should be a major oversight priority for House Republicans after 2022.”
RSC Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN) said he had his staff draft the document on how the left politicized the public health bureaucracy and how Republicans can fight back.
Republicans are poised to take back the House majority next year, and Banks’s memo could serve as a roadmap on how to rein in the NIH, CDC, and other unaccountable public health bureaucracies in the federal government. Banks said Congress could use the purse strings to defund woke spending at the agencies and oversight to hold public health officials accountable.
The RSC policy document said that the breadth of public health has expanded to include nontraditional policy issues from “racism to policing to gun rights to the minimum wage.”
The RSC detailed:
These arguments aren’t solely those of fringe ideologues. They’ve found political safe-haven in the Biden administration, which has publicly endorsed the idea of “racism as a public health threat.” Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated this point, claiming racism has an “undeniable” impact on health outcomes. In two separate Executive Orders (EOs) in his first week in office, the administration extended the reach of public health as far as it could. The first order, citing public health in its title, tackled everything from restoring national monuments to revoking the Keystone XL pipeline. The order, however, fails to even mention the pandemic, or any other actual public health issues. Instead, it simply takes the notion that climate change is a public health issue for granted. The second EO required almost every Federal agency to put climate change at the top of its agenda.
Banks and the rest of the RSC contended that the CDC has abused its power, and Dr. Anthony Fauci has scoffed at the idea that courts could rein in the health agency.
The CDC has also expanded its public health portfolio into areas beyond traditional public health, the document explains:
While the CDC’s mission creep into areas such as critical race theory, gun violence, climate change didn’t start with the Biden administration, they certainly fueled it. For example, President Biden recently requested a boost of $100 million for climate change activities and a $12.5 million increase for gun research at the CDC.
CDC’s mission creep contributed to its inability to successfully respond to the pandemic. With its resources spread far beyond the scope of its core mission, it’s no surprise the agency couldn’t even respond to threats in its own back yard. If the agency spent less time trying to enforce politically correct leftist speech codes, they would have more resources available to respond to public health emergencies, which have a disproportionate impact on poverty-stricken Americans.
Banks said that conservatives should focus on defunding CDC efforts to fund gun control, climate change, and other leftist measures and gave examples of how that could be done:
- Refocus the CDC on its core mission as a public health emergency response agency. Conservatives should reallocate resources from the Left’s priorities, including such efforts as gun violence, climate change, and tobacco. Conservatives should consider cutting funding for CDC efforts that are duplicative of efforts conducted by NIH, such as those on heart disease and tobacco.
- Require the CDC to be transparent with the American public about the data used in public health decision-making to ensure its decisions are based on science and not ideology.
- Require the director of the CDC to be Senate-confirmed, and increase oversight of political appointees at the CDC.
- Transfer appropriate CDC career staff to the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps and enact reforms to the USPHS to bring greater accountability and structure to the CDC.
The RSC revealed that the NIH’s political activities are often obscured due to its structure, as the organization comprises 27 different institutes, which can then be used to “promote radical ideology without proper oversight.”
NIH has “funded 257 grants on social disparities related to COVID-19, but only four on its spread.”
“Further exacerbating this issue is the way research dollars are dispersed,” the RSC memo continued. “Woke universities have managed to game the bureaucratic system by using ‘overhead costs‘ to funnel federal research dollars to ideological ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ efforts. Not only is this gaming not prevented by NIH, it openly encourages it.”
To combat the wasteful and woke bureaucracy at the NIH, Banks said conservatives should consider:
- Effectively capping indirect costs could ensure such funds aren’t funneled to politically favored woke institutions. Further, Congress could consolidate authority for indirect rate negotiations for NIH grants in a single office at the NIH and implement reporting requirements for such costs.
- Increasing transparency measures for grant funding to ensure such funding is geared towards basic science and not the left’s social engineering. Such measures should include requiring organizations to specify and make public where indirect dollars flow for all extramural grants.
- Consolidate the NIH’s 27 institutes to enhance the agencies’ focus. In consolidating the institutes, conservatives should focus efforts on rooting out elements of the left’s social agenda that have been institutionalized at NIH.
- Focusing oversight activities on ensuring political appointees at NIH are accountable and tasking Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) with increased oversight of grant-making to protect against problematic project selection. Such policies would help ensure NIH has the capability to better adjust project solutions to the needs of the moment.
- Enacting policies to ensure American research dollars don’t go to Chinese Communist Party companies, the Russian Federation, and other adversarial nations.
“Conservatives would be wise to root out this institutional rot at these institutions and return them to their core missions,” Banks concluded in his memo.
The Study Committee’s memo:
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.