Senate Republican Blocks Schumer Resolution Calling For Immediate Release Of Uncensored CDC Guidelines On Reopening

May 13, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today made a unanimous consent request to immediately pass S.Res 572, expressing the sense of the Senate that the report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention entitled, “Guidance For Implementing The Opening Up America Again” framework be released uncensored immediately. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) objected to the request. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Last week, Americans learned that the Trump White House had blocked release by the Centers for Disease Control of a document that contained guidance for safely re-opening the country.

According to numerous media reports, this guidance was painstakingly prepared by the CDC to help the country determine when and how to begin to easing social distancing—without causing undue risks to public health, further spread of COVID, the recurrence of a second wave, and more infections and more deaths.

The CDC guidance included detailed information and flow charts to help guide states, local governments, businesses, schools, churches and religious institutions and individuals as they consider these very challenging questions. Businesses want to know how and when to open. Citizens want to know how they should behave to protect themselves, yet get the country open.

The CDC Guidance includes detailed information and flow charts to help. Now a version of this document appeared in the media but we still don't have the official document as completed by the CDC.

Of course, every American—regardless of where they live or what political party they belong to – wants to get back to normal as quickly as possible. I know every member of the Senate wants that to happen as soon as it possibly can. I certainly do.

But making the wrong decisions about when, where, and how fast to reopen could result in the loss of precious lives that could be otherwise be saved. and in the recurrence of a COVID second wave that god forbid could be worse than the first.

In order to make these decisions wisely, the country needs the guidance of the nation’s best medical and scientific experts. These literally are matters of life and death. And that’s exactly why the CDC prepared this guidance.

But the White House has blocked the release of the CDC guidance—reportedly so that the president or his political appointees can make changes to it. 

Now, as we all know, the president is not a doctor. The president is not a scientist. Many don't even believe he's stable genius like he thinks he is.  It has become painfully clear over the last two months how unfamiliar he is with the disciplines of science and medicine. Anybody who would say drink bleach, use bleach to protect yourself is not much of a medical expert. So it is difficult if not impossible to imagine any legitimate, constructive purpose in a desire by the President or his staff to edit the CDC’s work. 

I wish President Trump and his aides could be trusted to tell America the truth about this public health crisis. I wish they could be trusted not to engage in political censorship of the medical and scientific judgments of our nation’s foremost experts.

But at this point in this crisis, after all the falsehoods, after all the disinformation, after all the transparent attempts at political spin, every American knows full well that the President and his staff of yes-people simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus.

Just yesterday, the president claimed that COVID-19 cases are falling everywhere in America. But another report—also yet to be released—by the president’s own Coronavirus Task Force is said to show that its COVID-19 infection rates are spiking to new heights in a number of large and small communities around the country, including places in Tennessee, Iowa, Texas and Kentucky.

The point is that America needs and must have the candid guidance of our best scientists—unfiltered, unedited and uncensored by President Trump or his political minions.

The CDC report on reopening the country is an important piece of that guidance. The Senate should unanimously support the uncensored release of that document. And therefore I will now offer a very simple and very brief unanimous consent request, and I hope that all Senators will support it.

[Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) objected to the request.] 

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