03.01.18

Murray, HELP Democrats Send President Trump Key Priorities for CDC Director Candidate

In January, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned as CDC Director following a series of recusals and issues stemming from her financial conflicts of interest

 

Led by Senator Murray, HELP Committee Democrats sent President Trump key criteria they will look for in a qualified candidate to fill the role

 

Senate Democrats promise any candidate will be “thoroughly scrutinized” given repeated ethical lapses at nation’s health department

 

(Washington, D.C.) –Led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senate Democrats on the HELP Committee sent a letter to President Trump yesterday listing key qualifications for whomever he nominates to serve as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Earlier this year Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned as CDC Director following new revelations about her ongoing financial conflicts of interest. Prior to her resignation, Director Fitzgerald’s conflicts of interest severely limited her ability to engage on pressing health issues.

 

“In light of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s recent resignation as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), resulting from her various conflicts of interest, we write to request that you include consideration of certain qualifications as you assess potential candidates for CDC Director. We intend to thoroughly scrutinize whomever you choose to ensure that she or he is an upstanding steward of public health who promotes policies that protect the health, safety, and security of our communities. We also expect Dr. Fitzgerald’s successor to be committed to continuing the CDC’s critical work unimpeded by this Administration’s political agenda,” wrote the Senators.

 

Joining Senator Murray in sending the letter were: Senators Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Doug Jones (D-AL).

 

Full letter below and a PDF can be found HERE.

 

February 28, 2018

 

Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear President Trump:

 

In light of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s recent resignation as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), resulting from her various conflicts of interest, we write to request that you include consideration of certain qualifications as you assess potential candidates for CDC Director. We intend to thoroughly scrutinize whomever you choose to ensure that she or he is an upstanding steward of public health who promotes policies that protect the health, safety, and security of our communities. We also expect Dr. Fitzgerald’s successor to be committed to continuing the CDC’s critical work unimpeded by this Administration’s political agenda.

 

Among other criteria, we believe any candidate for CDC Director must:

  1. Ensure that the CDC upholds its mission by leading the federal government in engaging in critical evidence- and science-based research and policy-making;
  2. Prioritize science over ideology, including not censoring agency communications regarding any programs or research initiatives;
  3. Be a public representative of the agency, including before Congress and in public education efforts, on public health matters that fall within the CDC’s purview;
  4. Proactively work to address the opioid crisis by helping states build capacity to monitor its scope, and ensuring that state and local stakeholders have access to resources and information that they need to respond to the epidemic;
  5. Work to ensure agency and federal government-wide investments in research on gun violence as a public health issue;
  6. Support investments in public health preparedness and response efforts, including the deployment of HHS resources to respond to natural disasters;
  7. Support and advocate for global public health efforts, including positioning the United States as a partner in global health security work;
  8. Advocate for increasing vaccination rates, including promoting immunizations as the best means of protecting children from life-threatening, vaccine-preventable diseases;
  9. Advocate for measures to prevent and treat chronic disease, including efforts to ensure access to nutritious food, promote physical activity, and combat tobacco use;
  10. Support investments in prevention and treatment efforts to reduce the occurrence and severity of infectious diseases, including those caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria;
  11. Advocate for critical investments in research and scientific discovery to improve health;
  12. Support efforts to invest in prevention, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund
  13. Resolve any and all conflicts of interest so that she or he can fully engage, uninhibited by recusals, on all matters within the CDC’s purview; and
  14. Commit to addressing harassment in the workplace, including by having a strong record of providing a safe and fair work environment, including enforcing policies to address sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, ensuring reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, and providing equal employment opportunities for all employees.

 

Thank you for your attention to these requirements. We will continue to work to ensure any candidate you choose to entrust with overseeing the health and safety of our nation is held to the highest possible standard.

 

Sincerely,

 

Patty Murray

United States Senator

 

Bernard Sanders

United States Senator

 

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

 

Michael F. Bennet

United States Senator

 

Tammy Baldwin

United States Senator

 

Christopher S. Murphy

United States Senator

 

Elizabeth Warren

United States Senator

 

Tim Kaine

United States Senator

 

Margaret Wood Hassan

United States Senator

 

Tina Smith

United States Senator

 

Doug Jones

United States Senator

 

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