Chairwoman Maloney Condemns Apparent Decision to Deactivate the National Response Coordination Center
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 29 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued this statement following a report that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to deactivate the National Response Coordination Center:
“I am very concerned by today’s report that the Trump Administration may be planning to end the role of FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in managing the federal response to the coronavirus crisis. President Trump seems to be declaring ‘Mission Accomplished’ while hundreds of Americans are dying every day, communities across the country are facing critical shortages of test kits and life-saving medical equipment, and millions of Americans are out of work and need assistance. The Administration has not briefed Congress on this move and has not identified a clear, unified command structure for the continued federal response.”
On March 11-12, the Committee held a hearing on the Administration’s coronavirus response. The hearing confirmed that the Trump Administration’s testing for coronavirus has been severely inadequate, plagued by missteps, and resulted in substantial deficiencies in our ability to determine who may be infected. FEMA declined to participate, asserting that “the Agency does not feel as if there is much that we would be able to testify to.” President Trump declared a national emergency the following day.
On March 20, the Committee held a briefing with FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, who stated that FEMA had only been “at this for 48 hours.” During that briefing, another FEMA official stated that Administrator Gaynor had not been invited to the join the White House coronavirus task force until earlier that week, and Administrator Gaynor stated that FEMA did not host its first “interagency synchronization call” until earlier that day.
During a congressional briefing yesterday, April 28, FEMA and HHS officials acknowledged continued shortages of personal protective equipment and testing supplies, contradicting President Trump’s claims of sufficient supplies and tests to reopen the country.