Washington, D.C. (February 17, 2022) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) blasted Democrats’s COVID-19 mask mandate hypocrisy during today’s Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations hearing.
Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:
KIDS IN CRISIS
“Today’s hearing is long overdue. COVID has taken a toll, especially on our children.
“Our kids are in crisis. A 2020 survey of 3,300 high schoolers found about one-third of them unhappy and depressed.
“From March 2020 to October 2020, mental health related emergency department visits increased 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11 and 31 percent for those ages 12 to 17, and we have seen about a two-and-a-half-fold increase in emergency department visits for suicides and self-harm among children under the age of 18.
“Why? Not because of a virus that poses very little risk to children. The reason – and I want to be very clear about this – is the government’s response to COVID.”
GOVERNMENT POLICIES TO BLAME
“School closures, forced masking, lockdowns, and isolation all have driven this mental health crisis. More than 40 public school superintendents from across Eastern Washington are calling for an end to mask mandates on children.
“I’m appealing to both Governor Inslee and the CDC to listen to them. Trust the parents, the children, and our schools who are saying ‘stop the madness.’
“As the schools wrote, government restrictions are having ‘an exceptional psychological and social toll on our entire communities.’
“It begs the question why are elected officials and unelected public health bureaucrats not responding to their pleas. Schools must be open for in-person learning with no masks. Period.
“We must retire this notion of ‘virtual learning.’ They’re not learning. If a school goes ‘virtual,’ it is closed. Kids need to be in school to learn, to socialize, to develop emotionally.
“Children shouldn’t be treated like vectors of disease.
“Forced masking – which undermines the benefits of being in the classroom – cannot be a condition for in-person learning anymore.
“Europe’s CDC does not recommend young kids mask in schools.
“The WHO and UNICEF both recommend against masking children under 5, citing the ‘safety and overall interest of the child’ – and when considering masks for children ages 6-11, they actually consider other factors, like ability to learn and socialize.
“I’ve raised this many times with CDC Director Walensky. She is narrowly focused on just COVID – a virus that poses a lower risk to unvaccinated children than some fully vaccinated adults. Yet CDC continues to rely on discredited studies to force her masking agenda on kids.
“This week, when I asked her what data she relies on for forcing masks in schools, she cited the flawed Arizona study to me three times.
“What have experts said of this Arizona study? That it is so unreliable it should never have been entered into the public discourse.
“So why does she refuse to listen?
“Is it because of her corrupt relationship with Randi Weingarten and teachers unions? I don’t know. Is it political, is she following directions from the White House?
“What I do know is that these guidelines are standing in the way of what’s best for millions of Americans, and it’s not based on science or data.”
“Just this week, we saw tens of thousands of people enjoy the Super Bowl unmasked in LA – but for kids in the same city? They are forced to continue to mask.
“How can anyone justify this?
“And suddenly Democrat-led states and cities are lifting their mandates. These decisions are not based on science, they are motivated by political science.
“Just six months ago, President Biden’s Department of Education opened civil rights investigations into five Republican-led states who were fighting for children to be able to attend school unburdened by masks. We haven’t seen the same action against the Democrat-led states at this time.”
UNMASK CHILDREN NOW
“I understand that updated mask guidance is coming. We must unmask our children. There’s no excuse for why they are always last for restrictions to be lifted on them.
“I’m speaking for millions of Americans and parents across this country. I speak for them, I speak for my own son who is still masked in his school.
“Children are our future. We all recognize that. These are bad policies that are a part of our sacrificing a generation of children and their future.
“Let’s stop the suffering. Let’s stand on the side of parents and kids and make sure we get our kids back in school.
“It’s best for them, it’s best for their mental health, it’s best for our future.”