The White House is blocking trade adviser Peter Navarro from testifying before a House subcommittee about a canceled ventilator contract.
Democrats maintain the contract would have wasted more than $500 million, NBC News noted.
“Despite the astonishing scale of this waste; the loss of more than 190,000 lives; and his willingness to appear on the cable news shows of his choice — Mr. Navarro refuses to appear before Congress to answer for his actions,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Oversight subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, said Monday.
The Illinois Democrat said that the contract with company Philips Respironics would have wasted $504 million.
Navarro had said earlier this month there is no truth to a Congressional report that the White House paid too much — by the tune of $500 million or more — for ventilators this year.
He noted Philips made two ventilators — one for $3,000 and one for $15,000.
He described the two ventilator models as “the dirt bike versus the BMW.” The former had “limited functionality,” Navarro said, while the “BMW version” was the higher-end model.
The White House recently canceled most of its ventilator order with Philips.
Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to the president, in a letter to Krishnamoorthi, said the White House declined the invitation to make Navarro available to testify because “in accordance with long-standing Executive Branch precedent presidential advisers generally do not testify in Congress.”
The Wednesday hearing has been canceled, according to NBC News.