Current and former agency personnel claim that government restrictions prevent the CDC from performing as well as it could in an emergency.
They want to convince Congress to be more accommodating and supportive. Despite having a budget of several billions of dollars, the CDC is not permitted to hire consultants in an emergency.
The CDC’s director, Rochelle Walensky, told CNN that she will ask Congress for latitude to make that kind of decision in an emergency. That level of jurisdiction is already held by other government entities.
By offering “real-time examples of how public health has been harmed due of our reluctance to take action” during the COVID-19 outbreak, Walensky said she intends to “move the needle.”
“Let me be crystal clear: We are not asking for the authority to release resources at our discretion. According to Walensky, what we’re trying to say is that there are occasions when we need to be swift and move rapidly in culturally appropriate ways, which we currently aren’t able to do.
Dr. Tom Frieden headed the CDC from 2009 until 2017. He asserted that the agency had the same limitations in 2014 amid the Ebola epidemic.
If we want the CDC to be better at fighting disease, he argued, we must stop holding their hands behind their back. Working for the government causes this kind of anguish.
Contrarily, according to its spokespeople, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are permitted to enter into some kinds of contractual agreements with third parties.
“We’re not requesting money. We are requesting capacity. We’re requesting that the authorities allow us to carry out our duties, Walensky added. “However, I’m not sure if I’ll be more successful than my forebears.”