Rob Wittman Discusses the Dragging Feet of Congress and the Mechanics of Operation Warp Speed


Live from Virginia Friday morning on The John Fredericks Show –  weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream –  host Fredericks welcomed US Rep. Rob Wittman to the show.

During the show, Wittman discussed the ongoing stall of Congress and the need to get out a vaccine that is safe and effective for the coronavirus. He added that although Operation Warp Speed was to quickly develop a cure, that it will still go through all the necessary FDA and approval processes.

Fredericks: Joining us now on the John Frederick’s Radio Network is Rob Wittman. Rob Wittman, Republican Congressman, 1st District of Virginia. That’s the northern neck area up through Stafford and Fredericksburg. And he is with us now. Congressman Wittman great to have you.

Wittman: Well John great to be with you this morning. I want you to know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I know it’s tremendously impactful to lose a parent. There’s just there’s nothing that fills that hole in your heart, so I want you to know that we’re there with you. I know all of your listeners out there too are there with you both in thought and in prayers.

Fredericks: Well thank you. Thank you, congressman. I appreciate that my mother was an avid listener to my show. Big fan of Rob Wittman, and if you’re a fan of my show you have to be a fan of Rob because you’ve come on every Friday in the eight o’clock hour for 10 years. Everybody knows Rob Wittman. If you’re a fan of The John Fredericks Show, we thank you for that. So well we’ve got so much to talk about today. Can I start with politics and then go to policy? May I?

Wittman: Sure.

Fredericks: Look, there are now numerous people telling us that the Democrats game plan is very simple. They get blown out on November 3rd. They can’t get their people out to vote. They get blown out on November 3rd. Then there are 60 to 80 million mail-in ballots, many of them absentees.

Some just with the mail-in states. Those get counted. There’s no way to verify them. They keep coming. Nobody can find postmarks on them. Then they say every vote counts, then they try to steal it. Then there are lawyers challenging it, and then it goes to the House. No winners claimed. How likely a scenario is that, congressman?

Wittman: Well John the bottom line is we have this fully within our control. That is, as you said earlier, everybody has to get out and vote, and if our voters get out and we see the enthusiasm and if our voters come out and vote, then all the other ancillary things that you hear I think remains secondary. But the key is to get folks out to vote.

And another key is this, John, is there are a lot of people out there that are engaged now that are not registered to vote. And you can still register to vote. So we want to encourage folks do not register to get registered. As soon as you do, as soon as you finish your registration you can then vote. And as you said, starting today in Virginia you can walk in in-person to vote at a registrar’s office and vote.

You can now have your mail-in ballot counted today so if you’ve got one in the mail, you can fill it out. If you have an issue with the US Postal Service, walk it right into the registrar’s office. Or if not, drop it in the mailbox, call the registrar’s office one week later in assured they have received it.

But we need to work on those things that are totally within our control, and that is making sure that people come out and vote. And making sure, too, that through the state election authorities that they stand by what the law is, and I know that there are lots of folks on legal teams there that are looking at that. But the one thing that we can control, and that goes all the way to the local level, is making sure people register about making sure they get out tonight.

Fredericks: Well that’s what we have to do because this election is about mobilization, not persuasion. So you got to get out, you got to bring people out to vote. Congressman Wittman let’s get to policy business back at the House of Representatives.

So Nancy Pelosi now looks like they’re doing your favorite thing, and I say that tongue-in-cheek. You’ve been railing against these continuing resolutions forever. We never have a budget. We never have a debate. Then we’re into a shutdown. Then we do a CR, and we kick the can down the road. Here we are we’re doing it again.

Wittman: Exactly John. It just doesn’t make sense. You know you need to get appropriations bills done. They need to be done on time, gotta get budgets done on time. Everybody else lives by that standard except for congress. We live in this alternate reality where Congress believes they can just as you said, kick the can down the road and make short-term decisions on spending.

We are never going to get our financial house in order. We are never going to prioritize the things that need to get done in this nation if you keep having these continuing resolutions. And what makes it even more frustrating this year, John, is that this continuing resolution probably goes into the lame-duck session of Congress.

And think about it. what do lame-duck sessions of congress get accomplished? Very little. So I can guarantee you if it goes into the lame-duck session, Congress is probably going to kick the can down the road again to the 117th Congress. So again further delay in making the difficult decisions for this nation.

It’s just tremendously frustrating, and as you know I’ve been fighting this now going on eight years saying first of all, get a budget done on time, if not members of Congress shouldn’t get a paycheck. Second of all, if you don’t get all the appropriations bills done and on the president’s desk by the end of July, you don’t get to go home for this ridiculous odd recess. And by the way, if you let the government shut down, CRV members of Congress that are not paid not the folks in the government that are considered essential that go to work and don’t get a paycheck.

Fredericks: Unbelievable.

Wittman: So we’ve got to restore unbelievable sanity to how we manage our government.

Fredericks: This has been going on, you’ve been coming on my show for 10 years saying the same thing. Let’s get a budget done over the summer. Let’s keep everybody in, don’t get paid so you get one your number one job is to get a budget. They never get one. They never even debate it. Then we have these CR’s then everybody’s hair’s on fire. Then they’re gonna shut the government down.

Then Mark Warner comes out and says federal workers are going to be starving. I mean it’s just so predictable and so stupid, but you can’t get it done. I mean they just refuse to do it over and over and over it’s so annoying. But it’s got the same thing. Now we got the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who told Congress yesterday they need $6 billion, with a b, for vaccine distribution. What form will that take, congressman?

Wittman: Well a great question, John, because it doesn’t look like they’re aren’t going to be any what are called additions or anomalies to the CR. So it probably is not going to be funded that way. It will probably have to be funded through the appropriations process. And remember if you don’t get appropriations bills done, then this doesn’t happen.

So I don’t know the exact mechanism about how that’s going to take place. Obviously you want to have those resources in place. It’s incredibly important to get the vaccine out there. And I want to remind folks that the vaccine is going through all the normal approval channels as any other vaccine would, with the exception this time is that there is a tremendous amount of resources being brought to bear to make sure that the vaccine is safe and effective.

It’s an amazing process what’s going on with this Operation Warp Speed. And by the way, many of the mechanisms have been put in place from previous needs to quickly develop a vaccine. So it’s not like this has just been done overnight. The key is to get this vaccine approved making sure it’s safe and effective and both the FDA commissioner and Dr. Fauci have all said this is going to be directed by science, we’re not going to let a vaccine out until it’s safe and effective. And then we want to make sure we can administer it.

Listen to the full show here:

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