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Republican lawmakers questioned the timing of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to relax interior mask requirements on Thursday as the Biden government grapples with crises on multiple fronts.
Biden came under heavy pressure this week from lawmakers on both sides of the political gang for decisive action in the face of the escalating military clashes between Israel and Hamas, a ransomware attack that crippled the largest fuel supplier on the east coast, and the Concerns about inflation, which affected the stock market.
The CDC’s announcement prompted several Republicans, including Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., To question what prompted the sudden change in leadership.
“While the new mask leadership is encouraging, the CDC and my colleagues at Far Radical Left chose it only to distract from the aftermath of catastrophic political decisions being heard around the world,” said Biggs, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. “Inflation is rising, the Middle East is in ruins, the working class cannot refill its gas tanks, our line is being crossed and the leadership of the Biden government is nowhere to be found.”
The announcement by CDC director Rochelle Walensky marked a significant departure from the agency’s latest guidelines, which only warned of “impending doom” in late March, when some states eased restrictions. Biden personally addressed the decision in a speech from the rose garden and said this was a “big day” for America.
“Why today? Science hasn’t changed,” Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Wrote on Twitter.
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Biden’s speech provided more fodder for Republicans who tore the government apart for restricting the president’s press availability and downplaying politically charged debates like the crisis on the southern border.
“I applaud the relaxed CDC leadership, but the presidents must run and chew gum at the same time,” said Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., Also a member of the Freedom Caucus. “The White House has not shown great strength in addressing our other immediate national challenges, such as the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. I think the American people are recognizing this fact despite the CDC announcement that it is only catching up with science on vaccines Has.”
The government struggled to respond this week after a ransomware attack by a Russian criminal hacker group effectively disrupted the operations of the Colonial Pipeline. The violation sparked gasoline panic buying in several states and fueled fears of fuel shortages until service was restored on Wednesday evening.
During the recovery effort, administrative officials were also tasked with efforts to de-escalate violent clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Biden’s statement that Israel “has a right to defend itself” has been criticized by its own party’s lawmakers, including MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY.
Biden’s demand for $ 4 trillion in spending on infrastructure and other projects also faced a renewed challenge in the form of soaring inflation. The rise heightened concern among GOP lawmakers, who have already argued that Biden’s plan is not economically viable.
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Fears of inflation, combined with a disappointing job report in April, have caused the stock market to decline in the past few days.
“I can only imagine the president having had a terrible week as more Americans realize his radical agenda is missing out on them and the country,” said Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla.
The simplified mask requirements were a win for the Biden administration, which presented the ongoing vaccination campaign and response to the coronavirus pandemic as a core initiative.
Face covering has proven divisive, and lawmakers in red states argued that federal guidelines lag behind science.
The CDC said fully vaccinated people should still wear masks in crowded environments, such as certain forms of public transport. In addition, companies may still need masks in their operations.
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Walensky, a Biden-appointed representative, said the decision was due to data and progress in the country’s unprecedented vaccination campaign.
“We have all longed for that moment when we can return to a sense of normalcy,” said Walensky. “Based on the ongoing downward trend in cases, the scientific data on our vaccines performance, and our understanding of the spread of the virus, the moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated.”