Democrat slams Yellen for failing to appear at hearing

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday slammed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for failing to appear before the committee during a hearing on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) COVID-19 programs.

“Unfortunately, Treasury Secretary Yellen has declined to appear before us in complete disregard for the law, which requires her to do so” Velázquez said. “Without her at the table, this committee cannot properly fulfill our oversight responsibilities to American taxpayers, nor the nation’s entrepreneurial community.”

The public criticism from Velázquez marks an unusual show of tension between a committee chair and a member of the administration from the same party. It is particularly unusual given that the hearing’s focus was on the SBA, which is separate from the Treasury.

SBA administrator Isabel Guzman appeared as a witness at the hearing, but the committee ultimately declined an offer for Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo to testify.

Velazquez said that Yellen and her team were “sorely mistaken” if they believed their role in administering programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program were dwindling, citing a memorandum of understanding between Treasury and SBA regarding program oversight.

A Treasury spokesperson seemed to indicate that the problem was merely a scheduling issue.

“Secretary Yellen looks forward to continuing robust congressional engagement and will testify before Congress several times within the next month, including tomorrow,” they said, alluding to a scheduled appearance before the House Appropriations Committee.

“We will continue to work with Congress to coordinate the scheduling of as many hearings as possible.”

Tags coronavirus relief Department of Treasury Isabel Guzman Janet Yellen Nydia Velazquez Paycheck Protection Program Wally Adeyemo

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