Apr 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House chair calls for commission to review U.S. response to coronavirus

Rep. Bennie Thompson. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) unveiled a bill on Wednesday that would establish a 9/11-style commission to review the United States' response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The Trump administration has faced widespread criticism for its response to the coronavirus, which has infected at least 200,000 Americans and made the U.S. one of the epicenters of the global pandemic.

  • The outbreak has also highlighted cracks in America's emergency preparedness, with reports of shortages of protective equipment and medical supplies growing by the day.

Details: The proposed commission would consist of 25 bipartisan members and would authorize an 18-month investigation to "make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the emergence," as well as actions taken by all levels of government before and after the World Health Organization declared it a public health emergency on Jan. 30.

What they're saying: "Americans will need answers on how our government can work better to prevent a similar crisis from happening again," Thompson said in a statement. "This legislation we are introducing is the first step towards getting this done for the American people.”

Go deeper

Unpacking a surprise jobs report

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Can we trust this morning's surprisingly good employment report?

  • The short answer: Yes.

The emergency era of environmental policy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Welcome to the crisis era of energy and environmental policymaking.

Driving the news: A new White House executive order, citing COVID-19, invokes emergency powers to accelerate and even waive some environmental reviews of infrastructure and energy projects.

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.