House Oversight Republicans criticize Democrats’ latest attempt to bring down President Trump on the taxpayers’ dime

Published: Apr 23, 2020

Today, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis” as a redundant, partisan platform to further their political agenda and attack President Trump using taxpayers’ money.

As Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) explained during his opening remarks to the House Rules Committee Wednesday night, there are already eight different oversight mechanisms to keep tabs on the federal government’s pandemic response. But Democrats want a ninth for political reasons.

“This is just a continuation of the attack Democrats have had on the president for the past four years,” Ranking Member Jordan explained in remarks on the House Floor Thursday morning.

“It started before he was president when they opened the Trump-Russia investigation and spied on two American citizens associated with the Trump campaign. It continued with the Mueller investigation and then of course we had the ridiculous impeachment process based on a phone call between the president of the Ukraine and President Trump,” Jordan continued.

“And now this.”

“Instead of helping American families, Speaker Pelosi wants to set up a new, costly, unnecessary, select committee,” Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) stated on the House floor. “This is an outrageous attempt to yet again use congress to smear President Trump in an election year, just like the impeachment charade a few months ago … this is yet another political game from Speaker Pelosi using tax dollars for political gain.”

“While American families struggle in the wake of COVID-19, Nancy Pelosi is once again playing political games by weaponizing Congress to smear President Trump in an election year,” Rep. Comer added later. “Creating a redundant new committee – when the Oversight Committee already exists to carry out the oversight she desires – is an irresponsible waste of time and resources at a time when the American people desperately need our help.”

“It’s entirely political in nature, designed to influence the 2020 elections,” Government Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Hice said of the committee from the House floor on Thursday. “And from the moment it’s gaveled into life, there’s no question that the mission will be to prevent the reelection of President Donald Trump.”

“This Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is a political exercise, plain and simple,”Rep. Hice added later in a statement. “From the start, House Democrats have worked ceaselessly to overturn the 2016 election and remove President Donald Trump from office. One investigation after another, Democrats have worked to undermine the President and this Select Subcommittee is simply the next iteration. If Speaker Pelosi wanted to pursue genuine oversight of the federal coronavirus response, she would allow the eight existing oversight mechanisms – including the actual House Committee on Oversight & Reform – to do our jobs. Instead, she’s created a political weapon and handing it to a member of her own leadership team, Whip Jim Clyburn, who has said that the virus was a ‘tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.’ This is about 2020 politics, not serious oversight.”

More members’ reactions:

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): “The last thing we need is yet another special committee to pursue yet another witch hunt. Speaker Pelosi continues to play partisan political games while Americans suffer.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC): “Will the creation of a select committee on COVID-19 really ensure effective oversight, or is it another ‘tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision’ like Whip Clyburn openly admitted? Here’s a hint: It’s the latter.”

Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA): “We already have an Oversight Committee. We do not need Speaker Pelosi to create more redundant bureaucracy aimed at more partisan investigations. The American people didn’t buy into her sham impeachment and they won’t buy into this blatantly political move.”

Rep. Mark Green (R-TN): “With all these layers of oversight, a special panel dedicated to coronavirus oversight would be redundant and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars, and no doubt designed to cater to [Speaker Pelosi’s] election year goals.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL): “Speaker Pelosi couldn’t find a way with the EIGHT existing oversight mechanisms to take down [President Trump], so she decided to try and create another one. It didn’t work with Mueller, it didn’t work with Ukraine, and it isn’t going to work now. Time to accept 2016 and move on.”

Background:

  • A special committee dedicated to coronavirus oversight is a redundant waste of taxpayer dollars designed to fit Speaker Pelosi’s political purposes during a presidential election year. There are currently eight oversight mechanisms to oversee the Federal government’s response to the crisis:
    • House Oversight & Reform Committee – Under House Rules, the House Oversight and Reform Committee has jurisdictional authority to investigate “any matter” at “any time.”
    • Other House Committees – The legislative committees of jurisdiction who drafted the CARES Act know how the programs are supposed to work.
    • Congressional Oversight Commission – The CARES Act created the Congressional Oversight Commission—a five-member bipartisan commission that is tasked with conducting oversight over the Department of the Treasury and the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System’s application of the CARES Act.
    • Pandemic Response Accountability Committee – The CARES Act created the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee within the Council on the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).
    • Inspectors General – The inspectors general from the relevant agencies also have the ability to conduct audits and investigations related to the pandemic response.
    • Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery – The legislation also established a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, or SIGPR.
    • Government Accountability Office (GAO) – Under the CARES Act, GAO received an additional $20 million in funding, which it plans to spend on hiring auditors and experts to aid in the Office’s work related to the federal government’s coronavirus response.
    • Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission – The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are looking into fraudulent activity during the pandemic.