GOP wants look at CDC's books after anthrax scare

House Republicans want audit reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) before a hearing next week about its recent mishandling of live anthrax bacteria.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to the CDC and the Health and Human Services Inspector General (HHS IG) Wednesday for information on past CDC inspections.

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Specifically the lawmakers want to know how many incidents of suspected and actual exposures to hazardous materials have been reported by the agency since October 2007. They also want to know how much the CDC spends researching and regulating hazardous materials and how much it cost the agency to recently shut down its labs after the anthrax scare.

The lawmakers have also asked the HHS IG for its reports from October 2007 detailing any "issues and vulnerabilities" at the CDC over its handling of hazardous materials.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has scheduled a hearing next week to put CDC Director Thomas Frieden on the hotseat to answer for how mishandling of live anthrax put dozens of its scientists at risk of exposure to the deadly bacteria.

The letters to the CDC and HHS IG were signed by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich) as well as Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-Pa), and Vice Chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas).