The White House is prohibiting all coronavirus task force members from accepting hearing invitations throughout May, according to multiple reports. The administration has already blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before a House subcommittee scheduled for this week. “For the month of May, no Task Force members, or key deputies of Task Force members, may accept hearing invitations. Exceptions may be made only with the express approval of the White House Chief of Staff,” an internal memo obtained by RealClearPolitics reads. Staff of the Health and Human Services department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department are not permitted to agree to “more than one COVID-related hearing” with the “department’s primary House and Senate authorizing committee and appropriations subcommittee in the month of May, for a total of no more than four COVID-related hearings department-wide,” according to the memo.
The House Appropriations subcommittee has launched an investigation into the coronavirus outbreak and the federal government’s response. The White House argued in a statement that it would be “counterproductive” for Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to appear at the House subcommittee hearing. However, he is set to testify at the Republican-led Senate hearing the following week.