Congress probing White House influence over CDC's cruise 'no-sail' order
Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 95% of the cruise industry, introduced mandatory requirements to be able to set sail again. USA TODAY
A congressional subcommittee is investigating possible White House interference in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from New York who chairs the House subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, has made an official request for records from the CDC. The request comes amid circulating release.
The request for CDC records expands upon the committee's Congresswoman Doris Matsui, a Democrat from California, sent a letter to Redfield, too, a few days after the order was extended on Oct. 2.
In her letter, she asked for answers to the following questions:
- "In issuing the Order, did the CDC consult state and local public health officials and has it provided resources to aid their responses to the resumption of cruise ship operations?"
- "Did the CDC consider the amount of resources that may need to be diverted from current containment efforts to its cruise ship COVID-19 response? If yes, please provide that information. If no, why not?"
- "Given that community and close contact exposure continue to drive the spread of COVID-19, what are the quantitative minimum thresholds for measuring virus transmission that CDC will use to determine whether it is safe to lift the Order prior to or on Oct. 31, 2020?"
Matsui added, "This decision represents an alarming departure from previous Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) policy for cruise ships and I am concerned it may threaten public health Creating new opportunities for COVID-19 to spread before the virus is contained could lead to the additional loss of human life and significantly delay economic recovery."
USA TODAY has reached out to the CDC; Cruise Lines International Association,the trade group that represents much of the ocean-going cruise industry; and the White House for comment.