Pelosi names seven Democrats to new coronavirus subcommittee

Speaker waiting on Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks, wants new select panel to be “nonpartisan as possible”

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Posted April 29, 2020 at 2:46pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her choices for the newly created Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Wednesday, which is intended to monitor federal coronavirus expenditures.

“We must be sure that the money we put forth goes to those who need it most, in a way that addresses disparities in access to health care and credit,” Pelosi said in a Dear Colleague letter Wednesday. “We also owe it to the American people to prevent waste, fraud and abuse and to protect against price-gouging and profiteering.”

Pelosi’s picks include Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters of California, Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Small Business Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez, both of of New York, along with Maryland’s Jamie Raskin, who chairs Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties, and New Jersey’s Andy Kim, who leads the Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access subcommittee under the Small Business panel. Illinois’ Bill Foster, who heads the Investigations and Oversight subcommittee of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, will also serve.

Pelosi touted Foster as both a scientist and a small business owner and Kim’s previous national security positions as relevant to their work on the committee during a press conference announcing her picks.

Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina had previously been announced as chairman of the subcommittee.

[House creates coronavirus oversight panel while Capitol implements new precautions]

The House voted 212-182 last week to officially establish the panel, within the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Pelosi was able to appoint up to 12 members and as many as five can be appointed by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Pelosi said that she shared her committee selections with McCarthy earlier in the week.

“We’re hoping that the Republican leader will name his members soon,” Pelosi said. “We want it to be as nonpartisan as possible.”

Republicans opposed the creation of the select subcommittee, arguing that existing congressional oversight panels along with executive agency inspectors general would be adequate. They raised concerns that the panel could be used as a tool to attack the Trump administration.

The select subcommittee’s purpose is to investigate the use of taxpayer funds for relief and stimulus spending, allegations of price gouging and profiteering, federal programs to expand virus testing and develop vaccines, and disparate effects of the virus on communities in the U.S., among other issues. The panel has the authority to issue subpoenas.