Democratic leaders and members of the medical establishment are reportedly concerned that Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul would emerge as the most powerful legislator on the Senate’s leading healthcare committee.
With present Ranking Member Richard Burr, a NC Republican, poised to retire, Paul will become the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s most senior Republican in the next Congress. If Republicans retake control of the Senate in the midterm elections on Tuesday, Paul may become chairman of the committee in charge of overseeing and probing the Biden admin’s COVID-19 response.
Some observers appear to be concerned about this prospect.
“Oh, dear God,” remarked one unidentified senior Biden white house official to The Washington Post about the HELP Committee’s part in reauthorizing numerous pandemic programs that are due to expire at the conclusion of the fiscal year 2023. Several other officials voiced concern that Paul has shown little interest in working with the administration on this subject.
Several members of the healthcare system also slandered Paul to The Post. “He has not been an example of preventive or wellness,” said Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Association for Public Health. “That’s a major issue when you’re a doctor… you should know better.”
“A specific subset of Republicans believe that the public health leadership’s actions violated personal liberties, were dangerous , and were unaccountable. And they want to demand a price for that,” J. Stephen Morrison, director of global healthcare policy at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, is reported to have added. “They aren’t considering what needs to be altered to safeguard Americans.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, for his part, has stated that he is willing to work with Republicans who may decide to investigate him during the upcoming Congress. He has frequently maintained that he will cooperate with legislators and comply with any subpoenas, but only within reason.
During HELP Committee hearings, Fauci and Paul had previously clashed several times. President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser, Paul claims, is “fear-mongering” and lying. Fauci has accused Paul of making threats on himself and his family.
Paul’s campaign platform even has a section titled “#FireFauci.” Fauci has announced that he will step down as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the end of 2022 to pursue other interests.
COVID-19 is not the only issue where Paul might cause Democrats problems. He has been a vocal critic of taxpayer funding for abortion and gender-reassignment therapies for children, both of which are supported by the Biden admin. and numerous public health organizations.
But it could all be for naught. Paul is also a candidate for chairman of the Senate National Security and Government Relations Committee, but it’s unknown which post he would take if given the chance.