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May 28, 2020

Chairman Thompson Demands DHS and HHS Provide Requested Documents on Federal Response to Coronavirus

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent letters to the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Health and Human Services demanding they provide the documents and information the Committee has requested regarding the Federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.  In some cases, the requested documents have been outstanding for as long as two months.

HHS has failed to provide a single page of documents in response to Committee requests.  DHS has transmitted only cursory information and a handful of documents in response to requests dating as far back as March. The few documents DHS has provided to the Committee confirm troubling information reported in the media and raise numerous concerns about Federal contracting processes and the confounding and insufficient effort to obtain and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), medical equipment, and testing supplies. Specifically, the Committee has many unanswered questions about the purpose and outcomes of Project Airbridge.

“As a result of the failure of DHS [HHS] to provide the documents and information the Committee has requested, the Committee lacks critical information on most aspects of the Federal response to the coronavirus pandemic months into the most profound public health crisis our nation has faced in a century,” wrote Chairman Thompson. “The Committee also lacks key information about the Federal government’s projections of possible caseloads in the coming months, and thus we do not know what metrics are appropriate to measure the adequacy of Federal preparations for any possible second peak or wave.  This is wholly unacceptable.”

Link to letter to DHS

Link to letter to HHS

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