- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2020

Senate Democrats are requesting a hearing for Richard Bright, the former Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority director who claims his demotion was retaliation from President Trump’s administration for his desired response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Democratic-controlled House Committee on Energy and Commerce heard Mr. Bright’s testimony on Thursday. Five Senate Democrats want their Republican counterparts in Congress’ upper chamber to give them the same opportunity.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Christopher Murphy of Connecticut wrote a letter requesting a hearing to the leadership of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The five Senate Democrats wrote that the Senate HELP Committee is “risking American lives, and delaying the economic recovery” if the committee fails to hear testimony from Mr. Bright.

“We are deeply concerned by the degree to which political interference appears to be corrupting and slowing the administration’s response to this health crisis, and by this report of retaliatory behavior against those who try to address these failures,” the Democratic senators wrote. “In order to make safe and effective COVID-19 treatments and vaccines available as quickly as possible, it is critical that BARDA’s decisions are driven by data and by science, rather than by politics.”

Mr. Bright has alleged that his transfer from BARDA to the National Institutes of Health was retaliation for his requests on how funding should be routed to fight the coronavirus crisis.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, chairs the Senate HELP Committee and has given no indication that he intends to hold hearings on Mr. Bright’s allegations.

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