MADISON — Andrea Palm unlawfully extended Gov. Tony Evers’ illegal lockdown and led an agency that repeatedly botched the state’s response to COVID-19. Two of Wisconsin’s U.S. representatives want to make sure she doesn’t do the same nationally.
Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-Mequon) and Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) sent a letter this week to all members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee asking them to reject Palm’s nomination as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Palm, up until January, was Evers’ secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
The letter notes examples of Palm’s “incompetence and overreach” during her two-year tenure in the Evers administration, according to the lawmakers’ press release. It was Palm who extended Evers’ “Safer at Home” order — until the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck it down. Palm also led a frustratingly slow COVID vaccine rollout that at one point placed Wisconsin near the bottom of vaccinating its most vulnerable citizens.
Tiffany and Fitzgerald note Wisconsin’s ranking dramatically improved in the weeks after she left.
President Joe Biden’s nominee, a former bureaucrat in the Obama administration, was about to be booted by the Republican-controlled state Senate before the Biden administration came calling. Senate Republicans were preparing to vote against Palm’s nomination as state DHS secretary, a vote delayed in large part because of the pandemic, sources say.
“During this critical time period as we continue to recover from a global pandemic, we need a Deputy HHS Secretary who is focused on improving access to health care and supporting state and local officials on the front line. Andrea Palm is not that person, and her appalling track record in our state makes that clear,” said Tiffany in the press release.
Fitzgerald said Palm’s tenure at the helm of DHS was “defined by missteps and misjudgments.”
“If Ms. Palm’s work in Wisconsin is any indicator of how she will lead in our nation’s top health department, then the public should be seriously concerned,” he said.