House Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday to set term limits on appointees to direct the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which would effectively fire top White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The bill, titled the "Fauci's Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal (FIRED) Act, was introduced by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and co-sponsored by several House conservatives including Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). It would set a retroactive 12-year term limit on the NIAID director, a position held by Fauci since 1984.
Should it become law, Fauci would be forced to leave his job.
"In the wake of massive missteps by Dr. Fauci and his subordinates in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, this bill addresses an oft-overlooked issue: The lack of accountability for unelected bureaucrats," a press statement from Davidson's office reads.
"Under Dr. Fauci's guidance, Americans have lost confidence in the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, leading to confusion and serious government overreach that has threatened Americans' livelihoods and freedoms. Despite successful treatment therapies, a historic vaccination development, and decreasing cases, Dr. Fauci has continued to advise healthy, low-risk Americans to continue to act as if the pandemic were out of control — after overseeing nearly a year of draconian public health policies that have decimated the U.S. economy," the statement said.
"Dr. Fauci represents everything that President Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address: The scientific-technical elite steering the country toward their own ends," Davison said. "Americans have had decades of Dr. Fauci's leadership, and he publicly failed to respond appropriately to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for him to step aside so that new leadership can 'follow the science' and start reopening America.'"
The bill has no chance of becoming law with Democrats in control of Congress and President Joe Biden in the White House, but it does reflect growing frustrations among Republicans with Fauci and other Biden administration health officials.
On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) clashed with Fauci during a hearing on the pandemic response over NIH funding for research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — the Chinese lab that some suspect may have contributed to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Paul accused Fauci of supporting risky "gain of function research," which involves manipulating naturally occurring viral diseases to be able to infect humans and studying how they might evolve.
Fauci denied that NIH ever funded the risky research, which some warn could cause a pandemic if an artificial virus is leaked or deliberately released to the public.