WASHINGTON - Today, Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Barry Loudermilk (GA-11) and full Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (WI-01) delivered remarks at the Subcommittee hearing entitled "Looking Ahead Series: Office of the Attending Physician.” Dr. Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician, testified.  

Click the image or here to watch Chairman Loudermilk's remarks. 

Subcommittee Chairman Loudermilk Opening Remarks:

"Thank you Ranking Member Torres and members of the subcommittee for participating in, what I may emphasize, is the inaugural hearing of the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee. Not just the first of this Congress, but the first ever... I look forward to working together to bring robust oversight to the legislative branch, including the many entities we oversee.

"Unfortunately, many of these offices have not been called before our committee in years, resulting in a lack of accountability to both Congress and the American people.

"We're very honored to have Dr. Monahan before us today. In fact, our witness today, Dr. Brian Monahan, has not appeared before a congressional committee ever, which is why we're having this hearing now.

"But this is not unique to him. No Attending Physician has ever been called to testify.

"That’s changing this Congress.

"For nearly 100 years, the Office of the Attending Physician, or O-A-P, has served both chambers, offering health care and guidance to Senators, Representatives, the Supreme Court Justices, and even staff and visitors during emergencies.

"Prior to the 116th and 117th Congresses, the OAP operated largely behind the scenes.

"Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit us and subsequent strains reached our nation, resulting in the OAP becoming a substantial voice with an increased sense of authority, enabled by the office of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"In a time when we needed true health guidance based on facts, the OAP issued inconsistent health and safety guidance across the two chambers of Congress due to political pressures.

"Greater restrictions were placed on the House of Representatives than the Senate, even though the Chambers not only operate on the same campus, but physically gather on two sides of the same building.

"I look forward to hearing from Dr. Monahan about how such guidance was decided upon, the pressures he faced, and what this committee can do to insulate the Office of the Attending Physician from political manipulation in the future.

"Taking a step back from the polarization of health guidance, the pandemic also brought to light another issue within the Office.

"The Attending Physician played a key role in advising the House on personal protective equipment, or P-P-E, usage and testing requirements.

"However, the OAP did not hold the contracting authority to oversee the procurement and purchase of PPE, or contract procurement for the COVID testing contractors.

"My hope is, that as a result of this hearing, we will be able to identify OAP authorities that need to be better defined to ensure adequate accountability and responsibility in responding to a health crisis.

"Finally, with the full reopening of campus, it is time to ensure the House’s support services are back to full operations.

"I look forward to receiving an update on whether all OAP offices across the House have returned to regular business hours and what the timeline is for the OAP returning to offer its full medical and health support services to those on campus.

"Ultimately, we must establish accountability for this office, transparency of its operations and decision-making, and explore reauthorization of its overall authorities. The OAP plays an important role for Congress, not only for critical health and safety support but also for continuity long-term.

"I’m thankful that Dr. Monahan is here to have a conversation with us about what we can do to ensure the OAP returns to being a trusted office that is strong and independent.

"Thank you for being here, and let me also say as a fellow veteran, thank you for your service to our Nation in the United States Navy."

Click the image or here to watch Chairman Steil's remarks.

As Chairman Steil highlighted:

"Thank you very much, Chairman Loudermilk. It's exciting to be here on the first meeting of the Subcommittee on Oversight... I'm excited for your role and the expertise you bring to this hearing. I think it's really important as we reflect about how we can get this institution back to normal following a tumultuous few years.


"Dr. Monahan, I appreciate you being here..... While the Office of the Attending Physician, or O-A-P, has historically operated behind the scenes, the office plays an important role, as we've noted, in the House, Senate, and Supreme Court as well. So I'd like to specifically thank you but also all of the members of your staff of the OAP for their 24-hour support for the broader congressional community. 


"More recently, the OAP played a prominent role in the House’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, I'm concerned that the office was manipulated and politicized by former Speaker Pelosi and her team during the pandemic. I think that's why, and one reason it's so important we hear from you today.

"Why am I concerned? Despite being in the same Capitol building, the House and Senate had inconsistent health guidance. For example, someone on the House side of the Capitol would have to wear a mask under the rules, but once you got halfway through the rotunda, you could take it off and cross into the senate side in compliance with the Senate rules.

"I think we can all agree, that doesn't make a lot of sense. The lack of transparency and the politicization of the guidance was really concerning to a lot of members of this committee."