Democrats demand answers from Labor Department on CDC recommendations for meatpacking plant

Democrats demand answers from Labor Department on CDC recommendations for meatpacking plant
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House and Senate Democrats called on Labor Secretary Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaBiden should keep the new commonsense independent contractor rule Demolition at the Labor Department, too AFL-CIO calls on Trump to resign or be removed from office 'at once' MORE to provide information on the agency's involvement with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a Smithfield meatpacking plant that had a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCDC leader faces precarious political moment Schumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottProposed Virginia maps put rising-star House Democrats at risk Industry, labor groups at odds over financial penalties in spending package Historically Black colleges and universities could see historic funding under Biden plan MORE (D-Va.) sent a letter to Scalia along with Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinOvernight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Dems block Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill Senate delays vote as DC hit by snowstorm MORE (D-Wis.) and Rep. Alma AdamsAlma Shealey AdamsAdams: Maternal health is in 'a crisis within a crisis' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Supreme Court weighs abortion restrictions MORE (D-N.C.).

The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., was the site of a coronavirus outbreak in April. At least 1,294 Smithfield workers contracted the coronavirus, and four employees died from it.


CDC workers visited the plant that month and provided recommendations to reduce disease transmission. The Democrats claim that the recommendations were later withdrawn, watered down and then a final version was released. 

The Democrats requested Scalia provide copies of all communications between the Labor Department and the CDC or Agriculture Department regarding a site visit to Smithfield.

The letter to request this information from Scalia follows CDC Director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldTrump CDC official: No 'public health reason' for border closure, Title 42 Documents reveal new details of Trump political interference in COVID-19 response Gottlieb says government's early COVID-19 response was a 'failure of vision' MORE last week telling Baldwin that his office was in contact with the Agriculture Department and Labor Department about the Smithfield outbreak.

Baldwin asked Redfield about these recommendations in a HELP Committee hearing last month and Redfield said at the time he had no contact with the Agriculture Department, White House or Smithfield on the matter.

The senators also requested copies of communications between Smithfield and the Labor Department, copies of reports of the in-person visit, a list of all versions of the visit memo, and copies of communications between the Labor Department and any other federal agency on the visit.