U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat of California, is known for her expert questioning of congressional witnesses. A Yale and Harvard graduate, she has taught at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and clearly puts her experience to work for her constituents in California’s 45th District.
On Thursday Congresswoman Porter questioned the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, and got him to agree to authorize free coronavirus testing for every American regardless of whether or not they have insurance and whether or not their insurance will cover it.
Wow. Katie Porter cites law that lets CDC pay for costs of diagnostic testing for anyone when needed. Asks CDC’s Redfield if he’ll commit to invoke that authority to make it free of charge for anyone. Redfield ducks, but Porter badgers him into saying “Yes.”
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) March 12, 2020
That is huge.
As Rep. Porter explained to Dr. Redfield, at minimum coronavirus testing could cost $1331. Most Americans cannot afford that.
But federal law authorizes the head of the CDC, in this case Dr. Redfield, to authorize free testing during a national health crisis. The coronavirus pandemic is definitely a national health crisis.
Congresswoman Porter, by the way, is under strong challenge from a Republican who wants to take her seat. California’s 45th District is heavily Republican and Rep. Porter won her seat in 2018. Last week Porter advanced to a runoff in her Orange County swing district.
Watch as she masterfully convinces Redfield to agree that he has the legal authority to authorize free testing, then gets him to agree, on camera, to implement his authority to ensure every American can get tested for free.
I did the math: a full battery of coronavirus testing costs at minimum $1,331.
I also did the legal research: the Administration has the authority to make testing free for every American TODAY.
I secured a commitment from a high-level Trump official that they’d actually do it. pic.twitter.com/RmolCtmNbG
— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) March 12, 2020
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Watch: CNN Reporter Tells Trump ‘That Is Not True – Who Told You That?’ When He Declares ‘Total Authority’
President Donald Trump declared total power several times during Monday’s off-the-rails campaign re-election rally masquerading as a coronavirus press briefing, much to the shock of the nation and the reporters in the room.
“When somebody’s the President of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s gotta be. It’s total,” Trump told one reporter. “The authority of the President of the United States having to do with the subject we’re talking about is total.”
“The President of the United States has the authority to do what the President has the authority to do, which is very powerful,” Trump also said. “The President of the United States calls the shots.”
Several reporters challenged President Trump on his claims of complete and unquestionable authority.
Among them, CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins, who fearlessly told the President of the United States he was wrong.
“You said when someone is President of the United States, their authority is total. That is not true. Who told you that?” Collins questioned.
Trump’s response was defensive.
“We’re going to write up papers on this. It’s not going to be necessary, because the governors need us one way oir the other,” Trump said, echoing of his infamous Ukraine quid pro quo call.
Trump tried to move on, calling on another reporter.
Collins was undeterred.
“Has any governor agreed that you have the authority to decide when their state opens back up?”
“I haven’t asked anybody,” Trump replied. “You know why? Because I don’t have to,” he added, dismissively.
“Who told you that the President has the total authority?” Collins pressed, returning to her question to which nshe had not received an answer.
“Enough,” Trump cautioned.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 13, 2020
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