Sens. Johnson, Paul, Lankford, Scott and Hawley Request Documents on CDC’s School Reopening Guidance

Emails show coordination between CDC and teachers’ unions on drafting school reopening guidance


WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), ranking member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on Wednesday joined Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), James Lankford (R- Okla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to send a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, requesting information and documents related to apparent political interference by teachers’ unions in the CDC’s school reopening guidance. 

Senator Johnson is leading an effort in which he and four other members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs are requesting documents from federal agencies pursuant to a federal statute. Under the terms of the law, so long as five committee members request documents, the agency is required to produce documents to the senators.

On Feb. 12, 2021, the CDC issued its Operational Strategy for Reopening Schools.  According to emails released by Americans for Public Trust and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) received an advanced copy of the CDC’s draft guidance. The CDC included language from the AFT nearly word for word in the final guidance. 

A copy of the letter is available here.

Sen. Ron Johnson said, “Instead of honoring its commitment to ‘follow the science,’ these documents show the Biden administration is in lockstep with their union overlords to the detriment of American children. Throughout the pandemic, teachers’ unions have consistently been an obstacle to children returning to in-person learning. America’s parents and children deserve answers on why Joe Biden promised schools would open five days a week in the first 100 days of his administration and yet it seems teachers’ unions had more control over that decision than his own administration.”  

Sen. Rick Scott said, “Every student in this nation deserves the option of in-person learning. For months, we have known that the science is clear that students could safely return to the classroom, but liberal Democrats and the Biden administration caved to teachers’ unions and kept schools closed. The Democrats claim to follow the science, but put their teachers’ union bosses ahead of our children. Americans deserve to know what kept students out of school for so long.”

Sen. Rand Paul said, "President Biden and his administration of central planners are robbing American children of their education. President Biden and Governor Beshear owe Kentucky families an explanation as to why they would rather kowtow to teachers' unions instead of 'following the science' as they claim.”