Congressman Harris Confronts CDC Director Over Misleading White House Sequester Claims

WASHINGTON, DC—Yesterday, Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., confronted Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about misleading statements by the White House regarding the impact on vaccines for children of sequestration.  

During questioning, Congressman Harris asked Director Frieden whether they had been consulted about the state by state figures released by the White House recently about the effects of the sequester – specifically vaccines for children in Maryland. The White House’s figures claim roughly 2,050 fewer children will be vaccinated at a cost of $140,000 because of the sequester. Dr. Frieden said he did not know if the CDC had been contacted or contributed to these figures.

Congressman Harris proceeded to ask about the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 decreased budget request for the program versus the sequester and how both affect the Section 317 Immunization Program. President Obama’s prospective FY 2013 budget would have cut roughly $58 million from the program while the sequester cut around $30 million. Despite President Obama’s budget cutting nearly twice as much as the sequester, Dr. Frieden testified that the CDC would be able to maintain vaccination levels under the President’s budget. He would not comment whether the CDC could maintain current vaccination levels under sequestration even though the amount being cut is less.

The interaction took place during an oversight hearing for the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that looked into funding for various organizations that do medical research.

Watch video of the exchange here

 

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