During a Thursday congressional hearing, a shouting match erupted between GOP Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Dr. Anthony Fauci over COVID-19 restrictions when Jordan pressed Fauci on when Americans can expect things to return to normal, bringing up civil liberties.
“When is the time?” Jordan asked during House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus hearing titled “Reaching the Light at the End of the Tunnel: Ending COVID-19”. “When do Americans get their freedom back? We had 15 days to slow the spread, turned into a year of lost liberties.”
“When we get the level of infection in this country low enough that it is not a really high threat,” Fauci replied.
“What is low enough? Give me a number […] what metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get their freedoms?” the Ohio Republican asked.
Fauci replied that his message was to make sure as many Americans as possible get vaccinated quickly “to get the level of infection in this country low that it is no longer a threat.”
Unsatisfied, Jordan continued to press him on this until Fauci took issue with the congressman’s framing of the issue as one of civil liberties.
“You’re indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to hospital,” Fauci said, adding that life will return to normal when people get vaccinated.
“You don’t think Americans’ liberties have been threatened the last year, Dr. Fauci?” Jordan asked, raising his voice. “They’ve been assaulted!”
Later on, the congressman brought up the various types of COVID-19 restrictions that have been put in place throughout the pandemic—such as those on houses of worship, having guests in one’s home, and curfews—arguing that they violated people’s constitutional rights.
Subsequently, Jordan claimed people have been censored because they dared to disagree with Fauci, citing a video where physicians disagreed with Fauci’s positions. This led to Fauci to claim that the congressman was making things personal.
“It’s not a personal thing,” Jordan claimed, to which Fauci shouted back: “You are! That is exactly what you’re doing.”
After Jordan’s time expired, committee Chairman Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that he would be pleased once 90% of Congress is vaccinated. This prompted the Ohio Republican to ask Fauci again for a specific standard.
“When? What are the numbers?” he asked.
“Right now we’re at an unacceptably high level,” Fauci said. “What you’re going to see as more and more people get vaccinated and we get over three million people a day, you’re going to see the level of infection come down and down, and gradually there will be more flexibility for doing the things that you’re talking about.”
Jordan continued to press him for a specific number. But, as Fauci started to give a response, the next committee member began to speak, thanking Clyburn.
“I’d like my question answered!” Jordan shouted, in response to which Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) yelled: “You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth!”
“Don’t worry about this, we’re going to handle this,” Clyburn responded. “I think Mr. Jordan knows me very well, and he knows full well that we’re going to handle this.”
Jordan thanked the South Carolina Democrat, and the hearing proceeded, with the Ohio Republican and Fauci sparring some more in subsequent rounds of questioning.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.
The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.
Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.
“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.
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