House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., ripped into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new coronavirus oversight committee after she announced that members include several high-profile Democrats who have been outspoken advocates of impeaching President Trump in the past.
House Financial Service Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., and Reps. Bill Foster, D-Ill., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Andy Kim, D-N.J., will be on the committee, which is being chaired by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.
“Let’s look at who she put on the committee,” McCarthy said during a conference call with reporters. “She announced the committee and the chair without telling you what the mission of the committee was about. Tell me the four things the committee is supposed to do. ‘Cause when she announced this the only thing she announced was Jim Clyburn was going to be in charge of it. Jim Clyburn has only said that the coronavirus was a chance to restructure government. Well that’s not oversight to me, that’s a restructuring of government. It seems like he’s concerned about something else than oversight.”
McCarthy went on to discuss partisan behavior that certain members have exhibited in the past.
“I haven’t seen them asking about oversight, I’ve only seen them talking about impeachment,” he said, specifically mentioning that before Trump was even sworn in, Raskin had spoken at a rally about impeaching him.
“So what is the real intent of this committee?” he asked.
“When we go to press conferences later, you probably won’t refer to this committee as an oversight committee or anything when it comes to accountability,” McCarthy predicted. “This will be no different than when we had to rename the Intel Committee the impeachment committee.”
McCarthy accused Democrats of having “a pattern of behavior” that they follow “when they just want to play politics and impeach …and they’re following the same pattern when it comes to the committee as they did with all the others.”
McCarthy made clear that despite his cynicism towards the committee, he is very much in favor of oversight.
“I want oversight,” he said. "That’s why when we passed CARES 1 we created three new entities of oversight beyond all the oversight. So Appropriations has an oversight committee. We have an Oversight Committee itself. This new special committee is under the Oversight Committee itself; it’s inside the Oversight Committee.” He also mentioned that there is an inspector general for overseeing how CARES Act money is distributed.
“I want as much oversight as possible,” he said.
Pelosi said Wednesday the committee was designed to address the “here and now,” specifically concerning the allocation of the historic amount of federal funds directed to the economic recovery. She compared the panel to the committee chaired by then-Sen. Harry Truman in 1941 to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in defense spending in the early days of World War II.
“We must be sure that the money we put forth goes to those who need it most, in a way that addresses disparities in access to health care and credit,” Pelosi said. “We also owe it to the American people to prevent waste, fraud and abuse and to protect against price-gouging and profiteering.”
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.