Whitman County Gazette 

Congresswoman slams Inslee on COVID policies


January 27, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-5th Dist., criticized Gov. Jay Inslee following his testimony in Washington, D.C.

Inslee spoke before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on how he handled the COVID crisis.

McMorris Rodgers stated the governor's policies have led to students' test scores plummeting, workforce shortages being made worse by the unjust termination of thousands of health care employees, and deadly fentanyl is taking innocent lives.

"Some elected officials and media outlets will have you believe the greatest threat to America's children is COVID. In reality, data suggest that if infected with COVID, children have far better health outcomes than many adults. In Washington State, despite this overwhelming scientific data, Governor Jay Inslee has instituted a state-wide mask mandate for most indoor settings, including K-12 schools.

"I've heard from parents across the State who are frustrated that their children are not allowed to take their masks off during speech therapy sessions. Parents are concerned about their children having speech setbacks and other devastating outcomes to their development. On top of that, school closures have kept our children out of the classroom for too long, setting them back at a pace that they may never be able to overcome. According to The Seattle Times, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of their state exam fell by 20% points between 2019 and 2021.

"This latest round of test scores provides more evidence that remote learning clearly isn't working. Our kids deserve a better future. A good education – in-person, five days a week – is the key to their success. Anything short of that will only make this crisis worse," said McMorris Rodgers.

The congresswoman spoke about how Inslee's policies impacted workforce shortages.

"The government response to the COVID pandemic has also created a nationwide labor shortage, which has spilled over into the health care sector. On Sept. 17, 2021, Governor Inslee ... request[ed] assistance from the federal government to provide Washington State with medical staff resources to help meet staffing needs in hospitals and in long term care facilities."

In addition, Inslee halted all "non-urgent" medical procedures – except abortions – in Washington State, indicating that the state's hospitals are too overwhelmed and understaffed.

"Yet the governor has stopped at nothing to implement a COVID vaccine mandate for all health care workers in the state – terminating those who do not comply and exacerbating the workforce shortage. According to the Washington State Hospital Association, approximately 3,000 health care workers have lost their jobs as a result of this overreaching mandate.

"Imposing heavy-handed vaccine mandates onto our health care workers – who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during this pandemic – has proved to be reckless, cruel, and ineffective at stopping the spread of the virus," said McMorris Rodgers.

She added more criticism in her statement.

"The bottom line is that Americans are tired of being told what to do, and it's time for our leaders to listen to what the people are saying. The response to COVID in Washington State will have devastating consequences for our children's and state's future. It's time to start having an honest conversation about how we work together to get our lives back to normal. The future of our communities, state, and nation depends on it."


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