House GOP leaders send letter to CDC demanding answers over teachers union ties

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Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on the Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Amr Alfiky/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

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UPDATED 9:04 AM PT – Thursday, May 6, 2021

Republicans are demanding answers from the CDC over reports that suggest teacher’s unions are influencing school reopening guidelines, rather than hard science.

House GOP leaders on Wednesday, penned a letter to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, calling on her to respond to the reports. This came shortly after the New York Post reported on emails over the weekend, which suggested that the American Federation of Teachers lobbied the CDC to maintain lockdowns. The emails included conversations that were between Walensky, her top advisors and union officials. Eventually, White House officials were also looped in.

The letter, written by GOP leaders, accused the CDC of making several changes after lobbying from teacher’s groups. The letter further questioned whether or not the science suggests if schools can safely be reopened without teachers being vaccinated first.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday, denied that there was anything unusual about the email exchange, calling it “standard practice.”

“It’s actually longstanding best practice for the CDC to engage with organizations and groups that are going to be impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency,” Psaki commented. “It doesn’t mean taking everything they want or even a percentage of what they want, but it’s important to understand the implementation components.”

However, Republicans have said there’s evidence the CDC has not been forthcoming about its ties with the teacher’s unions and have expressed their concerns that the agency has become overly politicized. One Washington lawmaker said she was concerned the CDC director was putting politics over science and the Biden-Harris campaign donors over children.

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