GOP demands answers from CDC on emails with teachers union

House Republicans ​are demanding the top of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clarify its relationship with teachers unions — and whether or not they have influenced its steering on college reopenings — following a report in The Post.

The high Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee pointed to The Post’s report from Saturday that confirmed a flurry of e-mail exchanges amongst CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her high advisers and union officers, suggesting that the American Federation of Teachers weighed in on the federal company’s college opening tips launched in February. ​​

The emails “raise significant concerns about whether you, as the Director of the CDC, are putting politics over science and Biden-Harris campaign donors over children,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers​ (R-Wash.) wrote​ Wednesday​ ​in a letter ​to Walensky obtained first by Fox News.

Parents seen at a rally in NYC demanding reopen for in-class learning on May 1, 2021.
Parents seen at a rally in NYC demanding reopen for in-class studying on May 1, 2021.
Sipa USA through AP

“Such revelations also raise serious questions as to whether you are honoring your pledge to ensure CDC guidance is evidence-based and free from politics​,” she continued.

Rodgers, the rating Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote the letter with Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), who’re additionally members of the panel that oversees healthcare issues. 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers​ (R-Wash.) wrote a letter questioning Dr. Rochelle Walensky's motives of keeping schools closed.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers​ (R-Wash.) wrote a letter questioning Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s motives COVID-19 college reopening tips.
Andrew Harnik/AP

The letter stated the emails “shed new light on your public about-face” on whether or not colleges can reopen safely with out teachers being vaccinated.

The Post obtained the emails by means of a Freedom of Information Act request by the watchdog group Americans for the Public Trust. 

They reveal back-and-forth conversations between the CDC officers, AFT President Randi Weingarten and Biden administration officers main as much as the February launch of the steering.

Following the exchanges, the CDC launched the rules that included two situations of language “suggestions” supplied by the union adopted almost verbatim within the remaining textual content. 

“The AFT’s priority is not focused on getting kids back to school, despite studies showing, with appropriate measures in place, in-person learning is safe,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, as the Director of the CDC, your decisions should be guided by science, not political interest groups.”

The three Republicans need answers concerning the communications involving the CDC, the AFT and the National Education Association and whether or not these exchanges influenced the rules.​​

People protesting school reopening in NYC on May 1, 2021.
People protesting college reopening in NYC on May 1, 2021.
Steve Sanchez/Sipa through AP Images

They additionally declare the “CDC was not forthcoming” ​with the committee when it requested for names of stakeholders engaged by the CDC in preparation for the rules.

The CDC ​stated its conversations have been routine.

“As part of long-standing best practices, CDC has traditionally engaged with organizations and groups that are impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency,” Jason McDonald, a spokesman for Walensky, instructed The Post.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, talks during a news conference.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, talks throughout a information convention.
Mark Lennihan/AP

“We do so to ensure our recommendations are feasible to implement and they adequately address the safety and wellbeing of individuals the guidance is aimed to protect. These informative and helpful interactions often result in beneficial feedback that we consider in our final revisions to ensure clarity and usability,” he stated.

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