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Dingell & Dr. Bright Call for Strong Accountability from Administration in Pandemic Preparedness

Washington, May 14, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and the Health Subcommittee held a hearing on “Protecting Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response” with Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Bright, a respected immunologist, recognized and anticipated a pandemic was approaching and knew what needed to be done to protect the American people. Bright repeatedly made efforts to raise concerns with the Administration that led to his removal from his post at BARDA. He subsequently filed a whistleblower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel. 

“I want to focus on an area that's not your area of expertise, but it is mine: Car safety. We expect cars to be safe. We expect car manufacturers to be responsible in making sure defective cars are not sold. If they fail in that responsibility—we hold them accountable,” said Dingell. “All carmakers have to be accountable. What I’m concerned about is that we are not applying the same standards to coronavirus. I want to learn from what happened so we keep that ‘Dark Winter’ that you are talking about, from happening.” 

Video of Dingell’s questions of Dr. Bright is available here

“The problems are not limited to just ignoring your advice. The American people are confused, given mixed signals, and frankly, some days—deceived. There are not enough tests, we are more than just ‘a matter of months’ away from a vaccine, and if we have a spike again after reopening – we won’t have the personal protective equipment we need,” Dingell concluded. 

On testing and vaccine development, Bright said: “there are still not enough tests,” and “there’s a lot of optimism and hope, but that doesn’t make a vaccine. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”

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