California Rep. Maxine Waters tore into Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during his testimony before Congress on Friday, letting them know that she was “very unhappy” with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Waters questioned Azar about the effect of President Trump’s campaign rallies and whether they lead to an upswing of COVID-19 infections.
Azar managed to dodge the majority of Waters’s questions.
“We have consistent advice, which is to practice the three Ws for all individuals: wash your hands, watch your distance, wear face coverings,” he answered.
Despite Trump and several other administration members testing positive for the virus, he is refusing to take a hard line in the fight against the pandemic.
Just two weeks back, Waters had some strong words for the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department for neglecting to utilize more of the coronavirus relief funds at their disposal.
During a hearing with Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Waters agreed that while the Fed had expanded eligibility for several of its emergency lending programs, only a small fraction of the available funds had been used under programs designed for midsize businesses and state and local governments.
“This is unacceptable,” Waters said per POLITICO. “Let me be blunt: This pandemic response has fallen badly short. … Your work to address this crisis doesn’t stop when the stock market recovers from its losses. Your mandate is to help hardworking individuals and families who are suffering.”
Powell attempted to defend the central bank, stating that it only has the power to lend money rather than spend it.
“The facilities are only that — a backstop,” he said. “They are designed to support the functioning of private markets, not to replace them. Many borrowers will benefit from these programs, as will the overall economy, but for others, a loan that could be difficult to repay might not be the answer,” he said. “In these cases, direct fiscal support may be needed.”