WASHINGTON – Today, Republican leaders of the House Committees on Ways and Means, Financial Services, and Energy and Commerce sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi in opposition to Democrats’ plan to create a partisan and duplicative select subcommittee to review the Administration’s ongoing COVID-19 response.
Republican Leaders Kevin Brady, Patrick McHenry, and Greg Walden stated that while there are few available details about the new subcommittee, its structure and subpoena authority “raise serious concerns as to whether the select subcommittee is truly intended to conduct meaningful, bipartisan oversight and ‘not a kind of an investigation into the administration,’ as [Speaker Pelosi] initially stated.”
The leaders went on to highlight the House’s established framework for conducting “meaningful oversight and investigations by standing committees within their jurisdiction” and questioned “what gaps exist… that necessitate the creation of a special select committee.”
The Republican leaders concluded that while “transparency and accountability are of the utmost importance as we oversee the Administration’s response to this national emergency,” this should be done within the existing committee framework.
Read the full text of the letter here or below.
Dear Madam Speaker:
On April 2, 2020, you announced your intention to create a new select committee to review the Administration’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, without any further debate, the Chairman of the Rules Committee introduced H.Res. 935, a resolution authorizing the creation of a select subcommittee to exist within the Committee on Oversight and Reform. The full House will vote on H.Res. 935 this afternoon.
The few available details about the select subcommittee—that it will have unequal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, the Chairman will have subpoena authority and will be chaired by Representative Jim Clyburn, a member of Democratic leadership—raise serious concerns as to whether the select subcommittee is truly intended to conduct meaningful, bipartisan oversight and “not a kind of an investigation into the administration,” as you initially stated. Representative Clyburn’s previous comments suggesting the crisis presents a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision” further demonstrate a complete lack of bipartisan oversight of the Administration’s response.
The House of Representatives has an established framework under Rules X and XI of its Rules that govern meaningful oversight and investigations by standing committees within their jurisdiction. Each standing committee has adopted its own rules and memoranda of understanding regarding the conduct of any oversight and investigation, particularly as it relates to the role of the Minority party. Our standing committees have the respective institutional knowledge and expertise to ensure the appropriate questions are asked and answered. It is unclear what gaps exist within the Rule X and XI framework that necessitate the creation of a special select committee to oversee the Administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be sure Madam Speaker, transparency and accountability are of the upmost importance as we oversee the administration’s response to this national emergency. We should harness all appropriate resources in conducting our oversight. At the same time, we should do so in such a way that preserves the existing committee oversight and investigative framework.
Committee on Ways and Means
Committee on Financial Services
Committee on Energy and Commerce
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