House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday torched President Donald Trump’s plan to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
“Unfortunately, up until now, the Trump administration has mounted an opaque and often chaotic response to this outbreak,” Pelosi said during her weekly press conference, pointing out how the Trump administration had botched its response by leaving top positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vacant.
The House speaker slammed Trump for attempting to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from the CDC in his new budget proposal, which he had issued even after reports of the coronavirus emerged.
“And now it continues to devour our health needs by ransacking other public health needs, whether it’s the Ebola fund or others,” she said.
Pelosi also hit at Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who told reporters on Wednesday that the affordability of a vaccine for the disease could not be guaranteed “because we need the private sector to invest.”
“This would a vaccine that is developed with taxpayer dollars to again, prevent, and we think that should be available to everyone, not dependent on Big Pharma,” Pelosi said.
Shortly before Pelosi’s presser began, she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued a statement urging Congress and the Trump administration to work out a strategy for handling the outbreak “in a bipartisan fashion.”
“Lives are at stake—this is not the time for name-calling or playing politics,” the two Democratic leaders said.
The statement included several proposals, such as the approval of new emergency funding that had not been taken from other cash reserves and ensuring that vaccines are “affordable and available to all that need it.”