Letter to Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House - Rogers, Colleagues Express Outrage Over Taxpayer Dollars Being Used to Buy Made-In-China Masks

Letter

By: Carol Miller, David McKinley, Mike Gallagher, Tom Tiffany, Scott Fitzgerald, Bryan Steil, Cathy Rodgers, Morgan Griffith, Ben Cline, Rob Wittman, Brian Babin, Michael Cloud, Michael Burgess, Ronny Jackson, Jake Ellzey, Lance Gooden, Van Taylor, Dan Crenshaw, David Kustoff, Mark Green, Scott DesJarlais, Chuck Fleischmann, Dusty Johnson, Ralph Norman, Jr., William Timmons, Jeff Duncan, Nancy Mace, GT Thompson, Jr., Guy Reschenthaler, John Joyce, Lloyd Smucker, Brian Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Bice, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Kevin Hern, Dave Joyce, Troy Balderson, Warren Davidson, Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Bob Latta, Brad Wenstrup, Steve Chabot, Elise Stefanik, Andrew Garbarino, Yvette Herrell, Jeff Van Drew, Adrian Smith, Donald Bacon, Kelly Armstrong, Ted Budd, David Rouzer, Virginia Foxx, Steven Palazzo, Michael Guest, Trent Kelly, Jason Smith, Billy Long, Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Ann Wagner, Peter Stauber, Michelle Fischbach, Lisa McClain, Tim Walberg, John Moolenaar, Bill Huizenga, Jack Bergman, Andy Harris, Garret Graves, Steve Scalise, Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie, James Comer, Jr., Ron Estes, Jacob LaTurner, Trey Hollingsworth III, Larry Bucshon, Greg Pence, Victoria Spartz, Jim Baird, Jackie Walorski, Darin LaHood, Rodney Davis, Mike Bost, Mike Simpson, Russ Fulcher, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Ashley Hinson, Marjorie Greene, Rick Allen, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott, Drew Ferguson, Buddy Carter, Carlos Gimenez, Mario Diaz-Balart, Byron Donalds, Scott Franklin, Daniel Webster, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Kat Cammack, Neal Dunn, Doug Lamborn, Darrell Issa, Michelle Steel, Mike Garcia, David Valadao, Tom McClintock, Andy Biggs, Aumua Amata Radewagen, Bruce Westerman, French Hill, Rick Crawford, Gary Palmer, Mo Brooks, Robert Aderholt, Barry Moore, Jerry Carl, Mike Rogers
Date: Jan. 20, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

We write to you today to express our disbelief and outrage that taxpayer dollars are being used to supply the United States Congress with masks that are made in China when alternatives are available. As the highest-ranking official within the Legislative Branch, you have direct influence over, and responsibility for, congressional operations including the institution's internal response to COVID-19. Under your tenure, you have closed the Capitol to the American people, implemented COVID-19 protocols in the House that conflict with the Senate, and now, you have handed out masks from China when American alternatives are available. Quite simply, there is no reason that our elected officials and government workers should be given KN95 masks manufactured in China.

China is perhaps the United States' greatest geopolitical adversary, and its government is culpable in the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not a day goes by without new information showing the scale of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) efforts to hide and cover up the outbreak. At the start of the global pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO), in a joint mission with China, attempted to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Chinese government restricted access to relevant documents and witnesses. According to the findings of a report released on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic by House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans, "it is beyond doubt that the CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world."[1] Given these facts, it is inexcusable for taxpayer dollars to be spend in support of the Chinese economy, and for Members of Congress to be supplied with masks emblazoned with "made in China" on the side.

What makes this even more infuriating is that the new, stricter mask mandate, which requires use of KN95 or N95 masks by everyone on the House campus, is supposedly necessitated by a need for greater precaution against COVID-19. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that approximately 60% of KN95 respirators in the United States are counterfeit and do not meet National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health requirements. Furthermore, the ECRI Institute found that up to 70% of KN95 masks imported from China do not meet U.S. standards for effectiveness and issued a hazard warning in September.

Members of Congress have been very clear in their sentiment against Chinese-made PPE--including most recently in the National Defense Authorization Act which prohibited the Department of Defense from procuring PPE from China and other non-allied nations.[2] At a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee just last week, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which oversees the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), reported that the SNS has 737 million N95s in stock, and will be awarding a $140+ million contract for N95 manufacturing in the next month or so.

Given these facts, why would the Attending Physician, Architect of the Capitol, and Chief Administrative Officer--each under your direction--choose to give members and staff KN95 masks when these masks are neither manufactured in the United States nor constructed to meet American standards? If you are going to insist that Members and staff wear certain kinds of masks and that our institution spends hundreds of thousands of dollars procuring those masks, then at least respect the institution and the taxpayers enough not to line the pockets of our adversary whose actions led to the current pandemic. We look forward to the day when the political charade that is the House's operational response to the pandemic is over, but in the meantime, we hope that you have enough courage and leadership to correct this severe error in judgement.


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