McMorris Rodgers Blasts Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 Response During Capitol Hill Hearing

Democrats’ Failed Policies are Harming Children, Creating Labor Shortages, and Setting America Back

Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2022) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today blasted Governor Jay Inslee for his failed COVID-19 response in Washington State. As a result of Governor Inslee’s policies, students’ test scores are plummeting, workforce shortages are being made worse by the unjust termination of thousands of health care employees, and deadly fentanyl is taking innocent lives.

Following the governor’s appearance before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Cathy submitted a statement for the record slamming his unrelenting command-and-control tactics in response to the pandemic.

Key excerpts from her statement:

ON SCHOOL CLOSURES: Some elected officials and media outlets will have you believe the greatest threat to America’s children is COVID-19. In reality, data suggest that if infected with COVID-19, children have far better health outcomes than many adults. In Washington State, despite this overwhelming scientific data, Governor Jay Inslee has instituted a state-wide mask mandate for most indoor settings, including K-12 schools.  

I’ve heard from parents across the State who are frustrated that their children are not allowed to take their masks off during speech therapy sessions. Parents are concerned about their children having speech setbacks and other devastating outcomes to their development. On top of that, school closures have kept our children out of the classroom for too long, setting them back at a pace that they may never be able to overcome. According to The Seattle Times, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of their state exam fell by 20 percentage points between 2019 and 2021. 

This latest round of test scores provides more evidence that remote learning clearly isn’t working. Our kids deserve a better future. A good education – in-person, five days a week – is the key to their success. Anything short of that will only make this crisis worse. 

ON THE OPIOID CRISIS: I recently spoke with a mother who lost her 23-year-old son to a drug overdose after purchasing a pill off Snapchat that was (unbeknownst to him) laced with fentanyl. This mother is not alone. According to the CDC, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, increased 56 percent in 2020.  

The heavy-handed mandates from Governor Inslee and others have shut down supports for those with substance use disorders, when the impact of the isolation and stress of the pandemic was putting additional pressures on those in recovery. This is troubling to say the least.

ON WORKFORCE SHORTAGES: The government response to the COVID-19 pandemic has also created a nationwide labor shortage, which has spilled over into the health care sector. On September 17, 2021, Governor Inslee … request[ed] “assistance from the federal government to provide Washington State with medical staff resources to help meet staffing needs in hospitals and in long term care facilities.” In addition, Governor Inslee halted all “non-urgent” medical procedures – except abortions – in Washington State, indicating that the State’s hospitals are too overwhelmed and understaffed.  

Yet the governor has stopped at nothing to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all health care workers in the State – terminating those who do not comply and exacerbating the workforce shortage. According to the Washington State Hospital Association, approximately 3,000 health care workers have lost their jobs as a result of this overreaching mandate.  

Imposing heavy-handed vaccine mandates onto our health care workers – who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during this pandemic – has proved to be reckless, cruel, and ineffective at stopping the spread of the virus.

Rodgers’ statement concludes, “The bottom line is that Americans are tired of being told what to do, and it’s time for our leaders to listen to what the people are saying. The response to COVID-19 in Washington State will have devastating consequences for our children’s and State’s future. It’s time to start having an honest conversation about how we work together to get our lives back to normal. The future of our communities, State, and nation depends on it.”

CLICK HERE to read her full statement.

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