A Democratic congressional candidate is arguing that a member of the committee in charge of overseeing stimulus money should step down over past comments she made on vaccines.
The Guardian’s senior political reporter Daniel Strauss reports:
The candidate, Democrat Suraj Patel, is running for New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s seat. On Wednesday, Maloney was appointed to the select committee on the coronavirus crisis, a new oversight committee.
Here’s Patel’s statement:
Carolyn Maloney spent decades as an anti-vaccine movement leader giving validity to a dangerous creed threatening public health and the most vulnerable.
The history of Maloney’s anti-vaccine stances is long and dangerous: she authored ani-vaccine legislation; angrily berated a CDC Director during a congressional hearing because the CDC Director would not agree that vaccines cause autism; led a radical group of activists in a ‘Green the Vaccine’ rally outside of the steps of Congress; hosted radical anti-vaccine activists in Congress; and regularly claimed vaccines were as dangerous as smoking.
It is dangerous and unthinkable to elevate her anti-science voice during the coronavirus crisis. The world is waiting on a vaccine to bring this horror to an end. This is no time to hand the mic to someone who endangers public health by questioning science. Appointing her to this position begs the question: How is a committee tasked with overseeing the development of a COVID-19 vaccine credible if Maloney, an anti-vaccine activist that questions the CDC’s scientific findings on vaccines, is one of its leaders?
Now more than ever we need elected officials who trust doctors, medicine, and science. Maloney does not fit the bill. I call on Speaker Pelosi to remove Representative Maloney from the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis sending a message to America’s doctors and scientists: we will always follow your lead.
Maloney, who’s been a member of Congress for over 25 years, has had to walk back past statements questioning the safety of vaccines for children. In a 2012 congressional testimony on autism, according to the New York Post, Maloney said:
And you’ve got to listen, you know, to — I remember smoking. I was on the City Council. I sat through so many hearings where they vowed smoking was not bad for your health. It’s common sense it was bad for your health…The same thing seems to be here with vaccinations. There’s too much verbal evidence coming from parents where they break down,[and say], ‘I had a normal child, I gave him a vaccination, and then they came down with autism.’
More recently a spokesperson for Maloney has said she does not believe there’s a link between vaccinations and autism.
On Wednesday Maloney was named by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to the bipartisan select committee on the coronavirus crisis. Maloney is one of seven Democrats named to the committee. The committee is a high profile perch for a member of Congress. It is charged with oversight of the coronavirus stimulus package passed in Congress.