Dem senator demands answers on CDC director's high salary

Dem senator demands answers on CDC director's high salary
© Greg Nash

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP Health Committee chair says he disagrees with Trump's WHO decision Lobbying battle brewing over access to COVID-19 vaccine Trump officials seek to reassure public about safety of a potential coronavirus vaccine MORE (D-Wash.) is pressing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for answers on the unusually high salary of Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In a letter to Azar on Friday, Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, voiced concern about Redfield's salary, which is nearly double what his predecessor at the agency made, and asked for a briefing on the matter. 

"It is difficult to understand why someone with limited public health experience, particularly in a leadership role, is being disproportionately compensated for his work," Murray wrote in the letter. 

ADVERTISEMENT

It's not the first time Murray has raised questions about Redfield.

Before he took office, Murray wrote to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE expressing concerns about Redfield's lack of public health experience as well as his controversial past as an AIDS researcher.

An Associated Press report this week revealed that Redfield is making far more than his predecessors at the CDC, and nearly twice as much as Brenda FitzgeraldBrenda FitzgeraldThe hollowing out of the CDC Overnight Health Care: Drug company under scrutiny for Michael Cohen payments | New Ebola outbreak | FDA addresses EpiPen shortage CDC director to take pay cut of more than 5k MORE, who helmed the agency before him.

Redfield is being paid $375,000 a year to run the CDC, while Fitzgerald made $197,300 annually.

Redfield is also earning more than Azar, his boss. Azar’s salary is set by law, but Redfield is paid under a program intended to draw in health scientists with rare and critical skills to government work.