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Rogers, Colleagues Express Outrage Over Taxpayer Dollars Being Used To Buy Made-In-China Masks

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) joined his
colleagues in expressing outrage that American taxpayer dollars are being
used to supply the United States Congress with masks that are made in
China.  

In the letter the members wrote, "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."  

The full text of the letter is below:  

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. "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. 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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Joey Weaver

Joey Weaver has worked for WEIS Radio in Centre as the Assistant News Director since 2008 covering news in Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia.

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