Amid continuing controversy over the best way to rush aid to working Americans, businesses, hospitals, and local governments to deal with the outbreak of the Coronavirus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she would move to set up a new special panel in the U.S. House to oversee those efforts, saying it's important to have transparency about the massive amount of relief money.
"We need to ensure those dollars are spent effectively and carefully," Pelosi said in a press conference by phone with reporters, as she said Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) would be in charge of reviewing the $2 trillion in aid approved by Congress in March.
"We have no higher priority than making sure the money gets to those working families struggling to pay rent and put food on the table who need it most," Pelosi added.
"The fact is, we do need transparency, and we do need accountability," the Speaker said.
In making the announcement, the Speaker said this panel would be different than the call by other Democrats for a '9-11 Commission' about the Coronavirus, saying the emphasis must be on what's happening right now - not what happened before.
"The Select Committee is about the here and now," Pelosi added.
In describing the job of the new panel, the Speaker compared this to the work of the Truman Commission, named for then Sen. Harry Truman, who was put in charge of a panel which held hearings and investigated waste, fraud, and abuse related to the war effort during World War II.
The idea - which would need a vote of the House to create the panel and fund its operations - drew immediate opposition from the top Republican in the House.
"This seems really redundant," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who told reporters by phone that he did not support the selection of Clyburn to run the panel, as the GOP leader questioned the goal, and said there was no reason to take oversight away from regular committees of the House.
"I'm not quite sure if this is political," McCarthy added in a news briefing by telephone with reporters.
Cox Media Group