McConnell rolls out GOP oversight efforts for coronavirus relief package
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday tapped Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to help conduct oversight on the recently-passed $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package.
McConnell said in a statement that Crapo, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, will coordinate oversight into the CARES Act, which President Trump signed into law last month. Toomey will be on the five-member congressional commission overseeing the Trump administration’s implementation of the legislation.
“The CARES Act is the biggest rescue package in the history of Congress,” said McConnell. “Appropriate, objective and nonpartisan oversight will be key to ensuring its dollars and programs find their mark.”
McConnell added that he made the appointments after consulting with a slew of Senate committee chairs.
Toomey will serve on the so-called Congressional Oversight Commission, a key aspect of the coronavirus relief package that will oversee $500 billion being distributed by the Treasury Department.
“Senator Toomey is one of the sharpest members of the Senate,” McConnell said. “He is a leader on economics and finance and a key member of the Finance, Banking, and Budget Committees. The Commission will benefit greatly from his expertise.”
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 McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
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.
Pelosi has yet to name her pick, and said Thursday that she is working with McConnell to work up a list of contenders for the committee’s chairmanship.
The House speaker 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.
The Congressional Oversight Commission is one of three oversight mechanisms established in the relief package, though the other two measures have been thrust into controversy.
Trump has nominated an inspector general for pandemic response to oversee the same $500 billion as the congressional panel, though the pick, a White House lawyer, has faced backlash from Democrats who claim he cannot be impartial.
Trump also demoted the Pentagon watchdog who had been named to lead a panel of current inspectors general and no replacement has been announced.
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