Six Republican senators — including Sen. Lisa Murkowski — voted against an amendment on Tuesday that would have eliminated the position of director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a job currently held by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul made the amendment that would replace NIAID with a trio of national research institutes.
In addition to a “no” vote from Murkowski, Republican Senators Richard Burr-N.C., Susan Collins-Maine, Bill Cassidy-La., Mitt Romney-Utah, and Jerry Moran-Kansas voted no.
Sen. Paul has been on a mission to get rid of Fauci, who has been the leading national expert on Covid-19 pandemic policy since he served in the Trump White House. He was retained under President Joe Biden and is deeply distrusted by conservatives.
Fauci has called for mask mandates, vaccine mandates, economic shutdowns, and the closing of schools due to the pandemic. At the same time, he was spotted mask-free at various public events and his pronouncements have been questioned by other experts.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed dictator-in-chief.’ No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,” said Sen. Paul, who is an eye surgeon. “To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I’ve introduced this amendment to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s position as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and divide his power into three separate new institutes. This will create accountability and oversight into a taxpayer funded position that has largely abused its power, and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Paul noted that as recently as 2012, Congress passed a law that eliminated the National Center for Research Resources and reassigned some of its programs to a new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and assigned other NCRR functions to other institutes within NIH. His amendment follows that precedent of reorganization, and would immediately eliminate Dr. Fauci’s position and replace it with three new directors for:
- National Institute of Allergic Diseases
- National Institute of Infectious Diseases
- National Institute of Immunologic Diseases
Each of these three institutes would be led by a director who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a 5-year term.
You can read the amendment, which failed, at this link.