Washington: The White House has blocked Anthony Fauci, top US health official and a key member of the administration’s coronavirus task force from testifying before Congress next week. Also Read - Defender Harmanpreet Singh 'Extremely Delighted And Honoured' After Arjuna Award Nomination

“The Appropriations Committee sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week’s Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement Friday.
Confirming the development, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere  said,””While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings.
He added,”We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”

Fauci has been invited by a House Appropriations subcommittee to testify next week, as part of the subcommittee’s probe into the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. Also Read - 'Nobody Will Use New Name': Twitter Slams Union Minister Prakash Javadekar's 'Historic' Priority to Rename Kolkata Port Amid COVID-19, Economic Crisis

The outspoken expert on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has repeatedly emphasised on the need to take strict measures, including extending the federal government’s social distancing guidelines, to contain the spread of the virus, at times correcting Trump’s false claims as the president tried to downplay the severity of the situation. Also Read - Competitive Cricket Set to Return With Fans in Australia After Coronavirus Lockdown

(With agency inputs)