WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans dealt their first blow at Biden administration officials over their response to the Covid pandemic during a hearing Wednesday as part of a broader push to use their newfound power in Washington to investigate everything from the actions of the FBI to the business dealings of the president’s son.

At the hearing, Republicans accused top officials in the Biden administration of using faulty science and lack of judgment to require vaccinations of federal workers and recommend the use of masks, particularly for children, something they said, it has broken public confidence in health officials.

«Many will say that the American people deserve an apology, but they deserve so much more,» said Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. «I think of every single person who lost a loved one to covid-19. The people who died alone due to covid-19 policies. The frontline workers who sacrificed but were still forced to leave their jobs due to to vaccination mandates and children isolated and sent home from school closures.

The hearing is expected to be the first of many for House Republicans on the response to the pandemic and the origins of the Covid virus. A separate committee also plans to investigate how hundreds of billions of dollars in Covid relief funds were lost due to fraud during the Trump and Biden administrations.

Committee members questioned the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Robert Califf, and Lawrence A. Tabak, the senior official who performed the duties of director of the National Institutes of Health.

Since the start of Biden’s presidency, Republicans have been at loggerheads with the administration over its response, accusing officials of overstepping federal government limits on vaccination requirements, questioning the science around the recommendations of masks and questioning the need for federal funds for future vaccines and tests.

Members are also investigating the origins of the virus. TO letter sent to the National Institutes of Health earlier this month requested a variety of documents related to biosafety monitoring and research practices at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where Republicans have speculated the virus may originate.

Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican, accused the NIH of obstructing Congress in its efforts to discover the origins of the virus during Wednesday’s hearing.

Biden called on intelligence officials in 2021 to redouble efforts to discover the origins of the virus. In a report issued later that year, at least one US intelligence agency concluded that the Covid-19 virus might have arisen from a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China, but the US intelligence community. It remains divided on the origins of the virus and the report said the agencies are unlikely to be able to provide a more definitive explanation without significant new information. He prevailing theory among scientists that the virus probably evolved in nature and jumped to people from an animal. During the hearings, Democrats sought to shift focus to missteps by the Trump administration, including the lack of personal protective equipment at the start of the pandemic and misinformation. about treatments.