Nancy Pelosi unveils new committee to oversee the White House

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday a new select committee of the House to oversee the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a conference call with reporters, the California Democrat said House majority whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., Will lead the panel. Pelosi said the committee, which will include Democrats and Republicans, will oversee the Trump administration’s administration of the $ 2 trillion aid package adopted last week and the government’s ongoing response to the crisis.

“We face a deadly virus and a struggling economy with millions of Americans suddenly out of work,” said Pelosi. “Congress has taken an important step in dealing with this crisis by passing three bills with more than $ 2 trillion in emergency aid. We must ensure that these dollars are spent with care and efficiency. “

The speaker said the committee “will eliminate waste, fraud and abuse” and “protect against price increases, profits and political patronage”. It will also try to ensure that the United States’ response to the epidemic is “based on the best science possible” and the advice of leading health experts, said Pelosi.

Spokesmen for the White House and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests to comment on the committee’s formation.

Pelosi announced the creation of the panel on a day when the Labor Department reported that 6.6 million people had applied for unemployment last week as the epidemic ravaged the economy. This brings the two-week total to about 10 million, an unprecedented number as business stops to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The United States has more than 216,000 cases of the disease, the highest number in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 5,137 deaths have been linked to COVID-19 across the country.

Congress will not return to Washington until April 20 at the earliest, as the pandemic is wreaking havoc. Pelosi called to move forward with another relief bill shortly after lawmakers returned to the Capitol, although Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said he wanted to first see the effectiveness of previous stimulus money before making a decision.

The federal government faces a complicated task in quickly distributing money to people in distress, small businesses, states and corporations. It will execute or help supervise approximately $ 300 billion in direct payments to households, $ 350 billion in small business loans, $ 500 billion in grants and loans to large businesses, states and municipalities and distribution through ‘State of 600 extra dollars a week in unemployment insurance for workers displaced by the virus.

The pool of half a trillion dollars of taxpayers’ money caused the most concern among Democrats as legislators drafted the relief bill. Pelosi at one point called it a “slush fund”.

Congress finally added an inspector general and congressional oversight posts to monitor how Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin uses the money. The law also includes limits on share buybacks, dividends and executive compensation for companies that receive taxpayer rescue money.

Even so, some Democrats have argued that the legislation does not go far enough to ensure that businesses do not disproportionately benefit from government assistance.

Since the passage of the bill, Democrats have also pushed the administration to help states speed up unemployment insurance, reports say their systems are struggling to keep up with the flow of applicants.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly denounced the democratic oversight of his administration since the party regained control of the House in January 2019.

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