Ranking Members Comer and Cloud Respond to Highly Politicized Democratic Ventilator Report
WASHINGTON, DC. - Today, Congressman James Comer (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, released the following statement on the Oversight Committee Democrats' highly-politicized report criticizing the Trump Administration's successful securing of ventilators to fight COVID-19.
"The Democrats' latest report shows they will stop at nothing in their endless quest to politicize this pandemic. After months of Democratic governors begging for more ventilators, Congressional Democrats are now unhappy with the Administration's successful efforts to quickly secure a robust supply of ready to use ventilators," Comer and Cloud said.
"President Trump and his team deserve credit for more than quadrupling the supply of available ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) since March. At the same time, the Democrats have smeared and bullied a leading medical device producer during an unprecedented worldwide pandemic without undertaking some of the most basic investigative steps to ensure they get the facts right," Comer and Cloud added.
The Democrats' report criticizes Philips for not producing ventilators under a 2014 research and development (R&D) contract that hinged on FDA approval, which was not granted until July 2019. The needs of the Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) were novel and intricate. BARDA required a ventilator with rugged casing, extended battery life, and specific connectivity - all for the purpose of use during a pandemic or disaster. In September 2019, the Trump Administration exercised an option under the prior contract to purchase additional ventilators at a reduced cost due to BARDA's investment in the R&D process. Contrary to the Democrat's portrayal in their report, the company is delivering ventilators under both contracts.
The Trump Administration was forced to quickly replenish the SNS left depleted by President Obama's Administration. The Democrats' report begs the question: where was President Obama during the pandemic preparation? Why did his Administration leave the SNS without sufficient supplies?
Comer and Cloud added: "This is just the latest example of the Majority's greater concern for partisan politics than overcoming the challenges posed by COVID-19. We needed ventilators and we needed them quickly. Thanks to President Trump, no person who needed a ventilator went without one. The strength of our SNS continues to grow each day."
Turning to the Democrats' flawed report, Republicans cited the following missteps:
- Democrats read a few documents produced by the cooperating company and made a bundle of assumptions. They received no briefings, conducted no transcribed interviews or depositions, and did not try to engage with the Administration to understand their side of the story.
- In fact, the Democrats made factual misrepresentations about the company's pricing while at the same time publicizing their proprietary pricing data without notice or consent from the company.
- These tactics are inexcusable. Republicans are deeply troubled by the slipshod and unethical approach taken by the Democrats. This company cooperated with their investigation, engaged in negotiations to try to protect their proprietary information, and Democrats repaid their good faith by revealing their confidential, sensitive business information to the world and their competitors.
"House Democrats have done nothing but undermine Congress' oversight prerogatives in their two years in control of the House. The manner in which Democrats have conducted this investigation should be a harbinger to any company called before the Oversight Committee. Companies that receive an oversight letter from Democrats should be on notice that the majority will misconstrue, cherry-pick, and misrepresent their information and data. There is no incentive for the private sector or government to engage with Speaker Pelosi's House," Comer and Cloud concluded.
The Majority staff report contains the following errors:
- It asserts the company did not deliver the ordered ventilators. This is false. The company has begun delivering on both contracts and will continue to fulfill the obligations.
- After lengthy telephonic negotiations with the Administration, the company agreed to provide ready to use ventilators at a discounted price and on an expedited delivery schedule.
- The Democrat report claims the federal government paid $15,000 per ventilator. This is a mischaracterization. The ventilator list price was $17,333 but the company discounted it to $12,133 and added accessories including the stand, circuits, and filters for immediate usage and for a total package price of $15,000.
Bottom Line: The Trump Administration is continually working to build up the SNS with ventilators tailored to emergent needs as well as other supplies needed to respond to this and future pandemics. The Trump Administration met this unprecedented pandemic with an unprecedented all-of-government, all-of-America response that quickly mobilized America's private sector to meet the needs of protecting and caring for the American People.