Clyburn says House committee on coronavirus stimulus spending will not look at past: 'The crisis is with us'
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When it comes to the new House committee tasked with overseeing the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said he is looking to the future -- not the past.
The panel, which was formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and tasked with monitoring the distribution of funds from the massive $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package as well as keeping an eye out for price gouging, will be “forward looking,” Clyburn said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“My understanding is that this committee will be forward looking, we are not going to be looking back on what the president may or may not have done back before this crisis hit,” Clyburn said.
He added: “The crisis is with us.”
Clyburn tried to assuage concerns by President Trump, who railed last week against “partisan investigations” and “witch hunts,” by saying the committee will only focus on stimulus spending.
“The American people are now out of work, millions of them out of work, the question is whether or not the money appropriated will go to support them and their families or whether or not the money will end up in the pockets of a few profiteers,” Clyburn said.
Pelosi has compared the new committee to the Senate bipartisan committee chaired by then-Sen. Harry Truman in 1941 to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in defense spending in the early days of World War II.
"With over $2 trillion in emergency relief, we need to ensure those dollars are spent carefully and effectively," Pelosi said of the massive stimulus bill Congress already passed to address the coronavirus pandemic.
Pelosi said the committee will investigate how the private sector is spending its government funds and press to ensure the federal response is based on science and health experts. The committee will fight against profiteering, political favoritism and price gouging.
"The committee will be empowered to examine all aspects of the federal response to coronavirus, and to assure that the taxpayers' dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief and benefit our economy," she said.
It was not immediately clear whom Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California might appoint as the GOP leader of the committee or the extent of the GOP participation of the committee that Pelosi billed as a "special bipartisan oversight panel."
Speaking on a separate call with reporters, McCarthy voiced concern about the appointment of Clyburn to lead the group, citing reports that he had called the crisis an opportunity to “restructure” things to fit his party’s vision.
Fox News Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.