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Capitol Correspondence - 05.05.20

Congress Continues Oversight Efforts for COVID-19 Funding

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As part of its oversight duties in relation to the Administration, the House is building up its committee to monitor how funding pools created by the CARES Act to address the COVID-19 outbreak are spent, as well as holding an initial hearing. Because this includes emergency funds managed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and because ANCOR has been advocating for HHS to distribute these funds to Medicaid disability providers, we are keeping our members informed of Congress’ oversight efforts.

As Politico Pro reports on the oversight committee: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday appointed seven Democratic members to a newly created House panel meant to police the Trump administration’s coronavirus response efforts.

The appointments are expected to ignite a wave of congressional action to spotlight President Donald Trump’s handling of the multitrillion-dollar pandemic relief packages meant to confront the illness’ devastating toll on American life. […]

Pelosi had already announced that she intended to name the House’s third-ranking Democrat, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, to lead the committee. […]

The panel will include three chairs of existing House committees: Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Small Business Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.). Pelosi also named Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.) and Andy Kim (D-N.J.), a freshman from a competitive district.

It’s unclear if Republicans will participate in the panel’s work. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy may name up to five additional panelists, though some of his allies have encouraged him to boycott the committee altogether, attacking it as a political exercise. Republicans have indicated their decision may rest on the makeup of the Democratic roster.”

Politico Pro also reported that “House appropriators will hold an in-person subcommittee hearing next week on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee will hold the hearing on May 6 at 10 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn. Witnesses haven’t been announced.”

The bigger picture: Congress’ scrutiny will likely be encouraged by media reporting of fund mismanagement. Large, publicly traded companies receiving emergency loans meant to go to small businesses received much media attention – though in a more recent development Politico Pulse showed that these issues also extended to funding geared towards frontline health providers. Specifically, the outlet reported that Walmart received those emergency funds (which the company has since returned).