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Pelosi appoints Rep. Donna Shalala to coronavirus oversight panel

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tapped Florida Rep. Donna Shalala (D) to serve on the five-member congressional commission overseeing the Trump administration’s implementation of the latest $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Shalala was elected to her seat in the Democratic wave in 2018, but before that served as Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary under President Clinton, experience Pelosi said made her well-suited to serve on the commission.

“Congresswoman Donna Shalala is a deeply respected and highly accomplished leader in the Congress and country, who has for decades led the fight to defend the health and economic security of the American people at the highest levels of government,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday night.

“Her leadership as Secretary of Health and Human Services will serve the American people extremely well, as she works to ensure that this historic coronavirus relief package is being used wisely and efficiently to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people, and not be exploited by profiteers and price-gougers,” she continued.

Shalala will serve on the so-called Congressional Oversight Commission, which was formed under the coronavirus relief package and will oversee $500 billion being distributed by the Treasury Department.

Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate will each name one member of the panel, with the chair being selected in a joint decision by Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week named Bharat Ramamurti, a former aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), to the panel, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tapped Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) to serve on the committee. McConnell named Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) to the committee Friday. 

Pelosi said Thursday she is still working with McConnell to hammer out a shortlist of contenders for the committee’s chair. 

Pelosi has also indicted that she will establish a new select committee to conduct oversight of the CARES Act, though she has yet to name its members and would likely need a House vote to formally create the panel. 

Oversight of the relief package has been thrust into uncertainty after Trump’s nomination of a White House lawyer to serve as a watchdog over the same $500 billion in Treasury funds faced backlash from Democrats over claims he cannot be impartial and the president demoted the head of a panel of current inspectors general who oversee the package.

Tags CARES Act Charles Schumer Coronavirus coronavirus stimulus Donna Shalala Donna Shalala Elizabeth Warren French Hill Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Pat Toomey

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