The federal watchdog who issued an early report documenting acute shortages of coronavirus tests and personal protective equipment at overwhelmed hospitals will testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday, a congressional aide said.
After Grimm issued her report on April 3, President Trump criticized her for serving during the Obama administration and disputed the findings. On May 1, Trump nominated a permanent HHS inspector general to replace Grimm — one of several moves he has made to oust inspectors general who served Barack Obama and previous presidents.
Grimm’s appearance before the Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), stands to be a high-profile moment of public scrutiny of the Trump administration by the Democratic-controlled House, which has struggled to secure Trump administration witnesses for oversight hearings.
The testimony and questioning — billed as a member briefing, not a hearing — is set to be conducted entirely by videoconference, with the proceedings live-streamed to the public. The congressional aide shared details of the hearing on the condition of anonymity because the briefing had not yet been announced publicly.
According to a draft notice of the hearing, Grimm is expected to brief the panel about her office’s work related to the coronavirus pandemic. “The briefing will address HHS IG’s recent report on hospital challenges in the pandemic, planned work on other aspects of the Administration’s coronavirus response, and HHS IG’s role as a member of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee,” it said.
Melissa Rumley, an HHS spokeswoman, confirmed Grimm’s appearance but said her briefing would not be focused on her earlier findings.
“While HHS OIG’s report on hospitals’s experiences responding to the COVID-19 pandemic may be part of the discussion, it is not the impetus for the briefing,” Rumley said. “The intent is for Principal Deputy Inspector General Grimm to inform the committee about our ongoing oversight efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
After being confronted with Grimm’s findings on April 6, Trump lashed out on Twitter, writing, “Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report.”
Grimm joined the HHS inspector general’s office in 1999, during the Bill Clinton administration, and took over as acting inspector general in January. Trump’s nominee for the permanent job, federal prosecutor Jason C. Weida, awaits confirmation by the Senate.
Coronavirus: What you need to know
End of the public health emergency: The Biden administration ended the public health emergency for the coronavirus pandemic on May 11, just days after WHO said it would no longer classify the coronavirus pandemic as a public health emergency. Here’s what the end of the covid public health emergency means for you.
Tracking covid cases, deaths: Covid-19 was the fourth leading cause of death in the United States last year with covid deaths dropping 47 percent between 2021 and 2022. See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world.
The latest on coronavirus boosters: The FDA cleared the way for people who are at least 65 or immune-compromised to receive a second updated booster shot for the coronavirus. Here’s who should get the second covid booster and when.
New covid variant: A new coronavirus subvariant, XBB. 1.16, has been designated as a “variant under monitoring” by the World Health Organization. The latest omicron offshoot is particularly prevalent in India. Here’s what you need to know about Arcturus.
Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?
For the latest news, sign up for our free newsletter.