House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she is launching a new House select committee to oversee the Trump administration’s response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Pelosi made the announcement on a conference call with reporters Thursday, according to CNBC. On the call, Pelosi noted that House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) will lead the committee — yes, that’s the congressman who said the stimulus bill was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
The committee, Pelosi said, will be tasked with supervising the implementation of the $2 trillion relief package, “root[ing] out waste, fraud and abuse” and “protect[ing] against price-gouging, profiteering and political favoritism.”
It will also oversee that the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak follows in step with advice from leading health experts and is “based on the best possible science.”
“We face a deadly virus and a battered economy with millions of Americans suddenly out of work,” Pelosi said. “Congress has taken an important step in leading this crisis by passing three bills with over $2 trillion in emergency relief. We need to ensure those dollars are spent carefully and effectively.”
Unity and bipartisanship?
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell later Thursday, Pelosi argued that the committee was launched now, rather than after the fact, in order to “unify our country” and promote “transparency, bipartisanship, and accountability.”
Pelosi also sought to allay concerns that it was a political move, arguing the new committee’s aim is oversight — not investigation.
Pelosi: Bipartisan Select Committee For ‘Accountability’ During Pandemic | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC
Republicans aren’t buying it
According to CNBC, White House spokesman Steven Groves assured that those on the White House coronavirus task force are “committing 100% of their time, energy, and resources to ending the current crisis” and added that “any attempt to politicize the crisis even before it has ended is dangerous.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also criticized Pelosi’s action, saying the formulation of a panel to oversee implementation of the stimulus is redundant since oversight mechanisms are already built in.
McCarthy took issue with Clyburn being the point man for the committee, as well.
Ed Morrissey, writing for Hot Air, raised concerns about the timing of the move, suggesting that the select committee could easily become “a back door” to another Democratic investigation.
“The whole idea sounds rather peculiar, under the circumstances. If this is to be truly focused on the here and now in a bipartisan manner, it’s not off to a good start,” he concluded.