The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health convened a hearing to discuss the protection of scientific integrity during the nation’s COVID-19 response. The hearing featured two expert witnesses, Dr. Rick Bright, the former Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and Michael Bowen, the Executive Vice President of Prestige Ameritech – the United States’ largest surgical mask manufacturer. Most of the hearing focused on the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Dr. Bright’s whistleblower complaint. Of note, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a lengthy rebuttal of Dr. Bright’s whistleblower complaint, which it framed as “claims vs. reality,” as he was testifying.
During the hearing, Democrats praised Dr. Bright for coming forward and shining a light on the Trump Administration’s failure to adequately prepare the country for the COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans, on the other hand, questioned the necessity of such a hearing and defended the Trump Administration. The committee also discussed issues related to the United States’ reliance on foreign suppliers for essential medical equipment. Please see the attached summary for additional detail.