More than a week after House Democrats convened their select coronavirus committee to oversee how money from the CARES Act is spent, Republicans are finally being welcomed into the group. On Thursday, House majority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) appointed Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) as the lead member of the House GOP to serve on the committee.
Fox News reports that Scalise will be joined by “Reps. Jim Jordan, an aggressive Trump backer from Ohio, Missouri’s Blaine Luetkemeyer, Indiana’s Jackie Walorski and Tennessee’s Mark Green, a physician,” all of whom are prepared to rein in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) picks for the committee and are pledged to keep the body on track so that it doesn’t veer into other investigations.
“Despite the Democrats’ intentions, I know these members will honorably serve the American people and make sure this does not turn into another baseless partisan pursuit,” McCarthy said in a statement announcing the placements. “While the Democrats might use this to take another stab at impeachment 2.0, Republicans we remain committed to truth and transparency.”
The House announced the creation of a select coronavirus committee late last month, indicating that they wanted a full accounting of how coronavirus relief funds are spent, despite fail-safes contained within the bill designed to provide independent oversight of select funds, including what Democrats termed a “slush fund” — a pot of money set aside to help corporations who are still suffering six months on from the decision to lift coronavirus-related lockdowns.
In late April, Pelosi appointed her own members to the committee, including Democratic majority whip, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and a host of vocal critics of President Donald Trump, like “resistance” leader Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who has her own slate of ongoing investigations into the Trump White House.
Republicans at first resisted the opportunity to appoint their own members to Pelosi’s task force — a decision Democrats were all too happy about. McCarthy, though, noted in his statement that there is significant fear among House Republicans that any coronavirus oversight committee could turn into a committee determined to investigate wrongdoing in pursuit of a second round of impeachment proceedings.
‘What concerns me about this is not just the redundancy and waste of taxpayer money. It’s who was selected,” McCarthy said, referring to the seven Democrats on the panel.
The House is, of course, pursuing other avenues towards a potential second impeachment. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is currently consumed by a back-and-forth with the Director of National Intelligence, said in April that he intends to impanel his own select coronavirus committee, this one tasked with assessing the White House response to the pandemic.
In his statement Thursday, McCarthy also noted that he intends to stall any Democratic efforts to pass a fourth coronavirus relief package, which Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) say they’ll present as early as next week.
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