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Press Release Published: Jul 27, 2022

Comer, Herrell Slam Biden Administration for Subverting Congressional Oversight

Encourage Democrats to authorize subpoenas to compel testimony from Administration officials

WASHINGTON — Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Subcommittee on the Environment Ranking Member Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) are raising concerns over Democrats’ refusal to require Biden Administration officials to testify at hearings, emphasizing that no cabinet-level officials have appeared before the panel this Congress. In a letter to Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the Republican lawmakers are calling on Democrats to subpoena Biden Administration officials who are refusing to come before the Oversight Committee, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, who declined Republicans’ request to testify at today’s hearing on gun manufacturers, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, who refused Democrats’ request for testimony this week.

“Throughout the 117th Congress, Committee Republicans have tried to hold the Biden Administration accountable by conducting meaningful oversight of the federal government.   Yet, for the past year and a half, no cabinet-level official has appeared before the Committee, preventing the American people from hearing first-hand testimony from those making policy decisions impacting the country. Because of your unwillingness to hold the Administration accountable, Committee Republicans invited senior officials to testify, including Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, whose staff stated that the Secretary would only accept a hearing invitation from the Chairwoman and not the Ranking Member. Last week, Committee Republicans invited Attorney General Merrick Garland to attend a hearing about gun manufacturers on July 27, 2022, but he also declined,” wrote the Republican lawmakers.  

Recently, the Biden Administration refused Democrats’ requests to appear before the Oversight Committee. On July 25, 2022, Subcommittee Chairman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) wrote the EPA and FAA reiterating his request for top agency officials to testify at a hearing on July 28, 2022. FAA and EPA officials refused to comply, and Chairman Khanna described the decision as “unconscionable” and a move which jeopardizes the Administration’s own commitment to transparency.

“Committee Democrats were so desperate to secure the participation of the Administration that they ‘offered to change the scope of the hearing so that both agencies would be comfortable testifying,’” continued the lawmakers. “It is unacceptable for the Administration to refuse to testify at congressional hearings. The American people deserve transparency from President Biden’s political appointees. In order to ensure that Administration officials fulfill their obligation to testify before the Committee, we fully support the authorization of subpoenas to compel testimony of EPA and FAA officials. We also support the authorization of a subpoena for Attorney General Garland’s testimony at a full Committee hearing. It is critical that we fulfill the important oversight mission of this Committee and hold the federal government accountable to the American people.”

Read the letter to Chairwoman Maloney here.