New Committee to Watch How Stimulus Money Is Spent

Republicans say there's enough oversight already
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2020 5:00 PM CDT
Pelosi Sets Up Panel to Monitor Stimulus Spending
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks last week in the Capitol.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is launching a bipartisan committee to keep an eye on how the $2 trillion in the new stimulus bill is spent. "Where there's money there’s also frequently mischief," Pelosi said Thursday. "We want to make sure there are not exploiters out there." The special committee will monitor any future pandemic measures, as well as the three already approved, Politico reports. "The panel will root out waste, fraud, and abuse and will protect against price gouging, profiteering, and political favoritism," the Democrat said. Her model is Sen. Harry Truman's committee that uncovered wasteful defense spending during World War II, per the Washington Post. Several chairs of existing committees were wanting in on future investigations of the distribution; for Pelosi, forming a select committee settles that issue. The panel will be chaired by Jim Clyburn, No. 3 Democrat in the House.

The top House Republican did not embrace the idea, saying that several committees have jurisdiction and the legislation provides other oversight. "This seems really redundant," Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. The legislation calls for an oversight commission put together by House and Senate leaders, a dedicated inspector general in the Treasury Department and an overarching committee of federal inspectors general. President Trump has to name the Treasury inspector general but already has indicated unhappiness with the power placed in that position. Included in what will be monitored is how Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spends a $500 billion fund created to help industries, businesses and local governments. Democrats say Republicans, including the president, are emphasizing helping business over individuals. In past recoveries, Clyburn said, some sectors were left behind. "We cannot allow that to happen in this pandemic," he said. (More coronavirus stories.)

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