Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) is winning praise for tackling the director of the CDC over claims that sequestration will result in a drastic cut to children’s vaccinations in the state, RightScoop calling it a “fantastic obliteration” and a “must watch.”
A medical doctor himself, Harris spoke with no hesitation when he began by asking whether the CDC had worked with the White House in crafting a memo blaming Republicans for the cut:
“Dr. Frieden, I have a great deal of concern about a document that my office got from the White House that talked about the cuts that were going to occur due to Republicans, affecting children… It says in Maryland about 2,050 fewer children will receive vaccines due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $140,000. Did the CDC assist the White House in preparing that estimate?”
“I’d have to get back to you on that,” Frieden responded.
Thoroughly unimpressed, Harris asks: “You as the director don’t know if you assisted the White House in preparing an estimate that was distributed to every member of Congress?”
Harris changes gears after Frieden says he would have to double check the numbers, asking specifically which program is being affected.
“And what did the president’s budget do to [program] 317, the president’s prospective budget?” Harris inquires. “Does [a] $58 million cut sound familiar?”
Frieden says yes, before Harris proceeds: “And what [did] the sequester cut?…Does $30 million sound familiar?”
Receiving positive acknowledgement, Harris continues: “So actually, the president cut the program twice as much in his budget. Can I assume that the president’s proposed [cut] would have reduced funding to 4,400 children in Maryland?”
Astonishingly, the CDC head says that under president Obama’s proposed $58 million cut, they believe they could have run the program more efficiently and avoided the cuts.
“Let me get it straight…Is it your testimony that under the president’s proposed cut of $58 million in his budget to the 317 program, you could have avoided cuts to vaccines to children in Maryland?” Harris asks.
“We believe that we could have maintained vaccination levels, yes,” the CDC director responds.
Harris concludes with a knowing, “very interesting.”
The entire exchange is well worth the watch: