The top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), announced a pending examination of the Trump Administration’s planning, coordination, and execution of preparation and response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This investigation will span documents, communications, and interviews focused on exposing any federal flaws that may have fueled the hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of jobs and homes lost due to the pandemic. Specifically, Peters is seeking out information from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, State Department, and the Office of Management and Budget.
“Congressional oversight of the executive branch is now necessary to understand and assess the U.S.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and any needed reforms to combat this and future pandemics,” Peters wrote. “I am particularly concerned about recent analysis that estimates at least 130,000 U.S. deaths “could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership.”
Peters pointed to lacking critical personal protective equipment, insufficient testing, overwhelmed hospitals, and reports that the administration turned down an extra 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
This is but the latest move at oversight by Peters, who has previously highlighted shortcomings linked in vaccine distribution plans, urged efforts to guarantee sufficient syringes and needles for immunization, and introduced legislation to address shortages of medical supplies and PPE through domestic production. Peters noted this latest investigation in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence. He will be pursuing information from January 2019 to the present.
“I will use every authority under this Committee to seek answers regarding how and why the Administration made key decisions in preparation for and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Peters said.