Following months of work to demand transparency from officials, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) cosponsored two bills this week to better account for the use of taxpayer dollars at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), his office said Thursday.
During his first two years in the Senate, Tuberville led the charge for reform at the NIH and other public health agencies as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
“The pandemic highlighted the great need for transparency in our government’s institutions. The National Institutes of Health, where Dr. Fauci worked, is no exception,” said Tuberville. “Americans deserve to have an independent oversight arm within the NIH to help ensure the agency is responsibly using our taxpayer dollars and acting in the interest of all Americans.”
The two bills are a continuation of Tuberville’s work to make agencies like the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control more accountable for their spending and the mistakes made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, Tuberville joined several of his colleagues in introducing a bill that requires the NIH to create an Office of Inspector General to properly monitor the use of federal grant funding by grantees and subgrantees, which the agency has failed to do in the past.
Tuberville also sponsored the Viral Gain-of-Function Research Moratorium Act this week, which places a moratorium on all federal research grants involving risky gain-of-function research on potential pandemic pathogens. A new report from a federal watchdog agency recently concluded that the NIH failed to meet key elements of its mandated oversight program responsibility.
“The dereliction of oversight duty at the NIH is not only unacceptable, it’s dangerous,” said Tuberville. “The United States should not spend another penny of taxpayer funds on unaccountable gain-of-function research programs that have proven to be a risk to public health.
“Congress needs to demand transparency and oversight from all of our public health officials, especially for the billions of dollars sent to their agencies over the past few years.”
In 2021, to make the agency more accountable to the American people, Tuberville championed legislation making the director of the CDC a Senate-confirmed position.
In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Tuberville reiterated his calls for public health reform while urging the new Congress to learn from the dangerous consequences of COVID-19 lockdowns and commit to protecting freedom in every circumstance.
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