Apr 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House passes resolution creating coronavirus oversight committee

Clyburn
Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The House voted along party lines on Thursday in favor of establishing a select committee to oversee the federal government's response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: The committee, chaired by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), will have subpoena power and broad authority to investigate how the Trump administration uses the trillions of dollars in coronavirus relief allocated by Congress.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of the committee earlier this month, but needed the full House's approval before formally establishing the panel.
  • The committee will be a special investigatory subcommittee under the Oversight Committee.

Between the lines: Republicans have voiced concerns that the committee will be partisan, though the resolution states that seven Democrats and five Republicans will be appointed to the panel.

  • During a press conference Wednesday, McCarthy said he doesn't see the point of creating a select committee to oversee stimulus spending, calling it "redundant."
  • "We already have three other committees" to conduct oversight of the allocation of stimulus funds, he said.

The big picture: The committee won't be the only mechanism intended to provide oversight of the coronavirus response.

  • Last month's stimulus package established a new special inspector general appointed by the president, a separate panel of inspectors general, and $20 million for the Government Accountability Office.
  • However, President Trump has already partially kneecapped the oversight effort by firing the Pentagon's acting inspector general Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel.
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