District, Maryland, Virginia leaders grill inspector general over PPE

House members from D.C., Maryland and Virginia today grilled the Health & Human Services Department’s Deputy Inspector General.

At issue? Did the Trump administration do enough, to deliver personal protective equipment to hospitals?

HHS Deputy Inspector General Cristi Grimm’s report found “severe and widespread” shortages of supplies.

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Tuesday, House members like Virginia’s Gerry Connolly, DC’s Eleanor Holmes Norton and Maryland’s Jamie Raskin told the watchdog that DMV hospitals and local government did not get what they asked for, and demanded changes as the region reopens.

Rep. Connolly told Grimm “the number of cases and deaths is still going up here, and yet when we asked for PPE and other equipment we only got 7 percent of what we asked for!”

RELATED: DC, Maryland and Virginia coronavirus case total latest

Congressman Raskin added he saw the Inspector General’s report found “shortages of critical supplies logistic support like IV therapy medical gowns, linens, toilet paper cleaning supplies and so on.”

While Delegate Norton is concerned about a lack of information from the administration as reopening approaches in the region saying, “The President’s already indicated that he think’s people should go ahead and re-open but we don’t have any guidance!”

Deputy Inspector General Grimm stood by her report testifying before an online briefing for the House Oversight Committee saying, “We did find shortages of protective equipment. Masks, gowns and reported expected shortages of ventilators and the department has taken steps to address a lot of the issues.”

This Oversight Committee hearing comes as a new round of stimulus is stalled.

House Democrats passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill. It has $1 trillion for states and local governments along with more of those $1,200 direct payments to people.

But that bill’s hit a dead-end in the Senate.  

Republican leader Mitch McConnell says more aid will on the way, but not the house bill.  

House Republicans argued today, the faster we re-open the economy, the less tax dollars would have to be used for coronavirus spending.

Republican Congressman James Comer, who is a member of the House Oversight Committee, said “we have to focus on re-opening our economy! America cannot afford to be shutdown unnecessarily much longer! And congress should be leading but instead because of Speaker Pelosi And House Democratic leadership Congress continues to say 'holed up!'”

Deputy Inspector General Grimm’s was issued in April. President Trump called it “wrong” and named a new Inspector General who’ll oversee Grimm.

She testified today that “independence” needs to be maintained, in order to safeguard future investigations of federal departments.