Kevin Kiley questions HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra about mask mandates on 2 year olds

Bill S1334/H2204 known as SAPHE 2.0 would force compliance,  just like we see here in this video, for towns that agree to take federal ARPA funds to improve Public Health in Massachusetts.

Rep Kevin Kiley 0:01 Thank you, Mr. Secretary did forcing two-year-olds to wear masks save lives?

Xavier Becerra HHS 0:06 Do what now?

Rep Kevin Kiley 0:07 Did forcing two-year-olds to wear masks save lives?

Xavier Becerra HHS 0:12 Making sure people wear masks when it was appropriate was essential to make sure that we were able to get out of this pandemic,

Rep Kevin Kiley 0:17 sir, but that wasn’t my question. Could you answer the question that I asked,

Xavier Becerra HHS 0:20 Which is?

Rep Kevin Kiley 0:21 Did forcing two-year-olds to wear masks save lives?

Xavier Becerra HHS 0:23 And who did the forcing?

Rep Kevin Kiley 0:25 Well, your department or the Headstart, which is under your department had a mask mandate until late last year for two-year-olds and above, even outdoors. So can you point to any public health benefit of that policy?

Xavier Becerra HHS 0:35 Right? We never forced anyone to do anything because we don’t have the jurisdiction or authority to do that. What we did was provide guidance on what would…

Rep Kevin Kiley 0:43 Mr. Secretary did Headstart have a mass mandate?

Xavier Becerra HHS 0:47 We provide a mask mandate a requirement for jurisdictions that wish to receive money to provide particular services.

Rep Kevin Kiley 0:54 So Headstart did have a mass for kids. Yes?

Xavier Becerra HHS 2 0:57 We had a mask mandate for jurisdiction…. for agencies that wish to get federal dollars (for services).

Rep Kevin Kiley 1:03 Can you point to any benefit? Yes, any public health benefit from that policy, whether it was recommended or enforced? Or forced, requiring young children who wore masks?

Xavier Becerra HHS 1:13 Did families benefit from the policy of using all protection or precautions to avoid?

Rep Kevin Kiley 1:19 No, I’m not asking you to rephrase my question is some abstract questions you’d rather answer I’m asking the you as the person who’s the Secretary of Health and Human Services right now. Can you point to any evidence that there was a public health benefit to forcing young children to wear masks?

Xavier Becerra HHS 1:32 Well, the fact that today, we are not losing lives where we lost them when we first got into this pandemic.

Rep Kevin Kiley 1:39 And you think that’s because we forced two-year-olds to wear masks?

Xavier Becerra HHS 1:42 That’s your interpretation. What I’m saying to you is that using good policies that give us the precautions to keep our families from contracting COVID

Rep Kevin Kiley 1:49 I’m going quote for you an article from NPR in January of 2022. It says the United States is an outlier and recommending masks from the age of two years old. The World Health Organization does not recommend masks for children under age five. Well, the European equivalent of the CDC doesn’t recommend them for children. under age 12. In retrospect, was it a mistake for the United States to defy the international norm on child masking?

Xavier Becerra HHS 2:12 The US had been working closely with our international partners, and we have done more than any of the countries

Rep Kevin Kiley 2:18 but that’s not what I asked you. I asked you was it a mistake to defy the international norm? On the issue of child masking?

Xavier Becerra HHS 2:25 We continue to use all the best practices when it comes to making sure people take the precautions.

Rep Kevin Kiley 2:30 Is there a reason you’re answering my question, Mr. Secretary,

Xavier Becerra HHS 2:32 I’m answering the question. I best the best I can because you keep phrasing questions that are already geared to get a particular answer.

Rep Kevin Kiley 2:39 Mr. Secretary a few weeks ago we had the testimony from your counterpart of the Secretary of Education who gave false testimony to this committee. He claimed that he did not encourage states to adopt student vaccine mandates. I wanted to ask your own recollection of your own advocacy Did you encourage or support the adoption of student vaccine mandates by states or school districts?

Xavier Becerra HHS 3:05 We have encouraged states to use all the precautions necessary to protect their populations, including students Rep

Kevin Kiley 3:10 did you including student vaccine mandates, you

Xavier Becerra HHS 3:14 offered precautions to help states protect their population

Rep Kevin Kiley 3:17 specifically, did you support student vaccine mandates?

Xavier Becerra HHS 3:20 We have supported all the policies that show that they help save lives. Rep Kevin Kiley 3:23 Did you support student vaccine mandates, yes or no.

Xavier Becerra HHS 3:26 We have supported all policies that help states make sure people’s lives are saved.

Rep Kevin Kiley 3:31 Mr. Secretary, Madam Chair, I think we had an opening from you asking for the witness to give frank and honest answers. And we’re just not getting that today. I’m afraid and that’s very unfortunate. I yield back questions in a way that correspond to them. I would thank you, Mr. Kiley.

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