(House of Representatives - April 23, 2020)

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[Pages H1907-H1920]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, 
I call up House Resolution 938 and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 938

         Resolved, That House Resolution 935 is hereby adopted.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Massachusetts is 
recognized for 1 hour.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield 
the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Cole), the 
distinguished ranking member of the Rules Committee, pending which I 
yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this 
resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.

                             General Leave

  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
be given 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Massachusetts?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, before we get into the resolution before 
us, I want to speak to my colleagues about an important issue.
  Over the last several weeks, I have heard from Democrats and 
Republicans, who have expressed concern that we, as a House, are not 
adequately prepared to do our business during a pandemic. They are 
  Over a month ago, I prepared a report that I sent to everyone in the 
House--Democrats and Republicans--about possible ways that we could 
operate remotely. I received constructive feedback from both sides of 
the aisle, and this week I released text of a proposal that I hoped 
could have been voted on today.
  The Republican leader had some objections to that proposal, and our 
Speaker has agreed to continue the conversation for 2 more weeks. I 
have always believed that, whenever possible, any changes to our rules 
should be bipartisan, and I still believe that.
  However, the status quo, in my opinion, is unacceptable and 
dangerous. I am not talking about to Members of Congress; more 
importantly, it is dangerous to everyone we come in contact with.
  The year is 2020. Technology has advanced and improved considerably 
over the last 231 years. And, yes, there are problems with some of the 

[[Page H1908]]

that exists out there, but there are low-tech approaches to dealing 
with remote participation by our Members, and there are higher-tech 
ways to deal with it. And we can work that out. There are smart people 
in this Congress who can figure all of this out. But I believe both 
sides of the aisle need to have some urgency in addressing this issue, 
especially in light of the statements by the head of the CDC and other 
medical experts, that things could be very problematic come the fall. I 
hope and I pray that that is not the case. But we need to be prepared 
so that we can do the people's business.
  I also want to publicly acknowledge my ranking member, the gentleman 
from Oklahoma (Mr. Cole). We don't see eye-to-eye on this issue yet, 
but over our years-long working relationship and friendship, we have 
found common ground many, many times. A task force is going to be 
convened today that includes myself, Mr. Cole, the chair and ranking 
member of the House Administration Committee, Ms. Lofgren, and Mr. 
Davis, as well as Democratic Leader Hoyer and Republican Leader 
McCarthy to discuss these matters.
  I have been saying this for a month, and I am going to say it again 
here today: If you are a Member of Congress and you care about this 
issue, call me. I want to hear from Members what they think about this 
critically important matter.
  Now, back to the measure before us.
  Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, the Rules Committee met and reported a 
rule, House Resolution 938, providing that upon passage of the rule, H. 
Res. 935, which establishes a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus 
Crisis as a select investigative subcommittee of the Committee on 
Oversight and Reform is hereby adopted.
  Madam Speaker, we are here today as Congress continues responding to 
the biggest public health and economic emergency this Nation has seen 
in 100 years: The coronavirus pandemic.
  What started just weeks ago half a world away is having a devastating 
impact across our country. No community has been spared:
  More than 855,000 cases have been confirmed;
  Nearly 48,000 lives lost as of the time we are meeting right now;
  And more than 22 million initial unemployment claims filed in the 
past month.
  Some regions of our country have now lost as many jobs over the last 
month as they did during the worst year of the Great Recession.
  These statistics are not just numbers on a page, Madam Speaker. These 
are our neighbors. They are our family. They are our friends. Their 
health is at risk, and their economic reality has changed overnight. 
Since the start of this pandemic, Congress has provided more than $2 
trillion in emergency relief to get small businesses the financial help 
that they need to survive, to help hospitals and healthcare workers on 
the front lines, to expand testing, to provide every American access to 
an affordable vaccine when it is developed. And I could go on and on 
and on.
  We need to make sure these resources are going where Congress 
intended, that they are helping struggling Americans and small 
businesses without any rampant fraud or abuse, and that companies 
aren't taking part in price-gouging or profiteering.
  That is what this Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus is all 
about. This proactive approach is what then-Senator Harry Truman 
spearheaded at the dawn of World War II to ensure Federal dollars spent 
then saved lives on the battlefield.
  Well, today the battle is much different. It is against a worldwide 
pandemic currently without a vaccine or preventative treatment. But our 
aggressive oversight should be the same. Democratic governors and 
Republican governors all over the country are pleading for more tests, 
despite the billions we have allocated to provide them.
  The Republican governor of Maryland has said the lack of available 
testing is the number one stumbling block in America. He is absolutely 
  The President talks about reopening America, but Madam Speaker, how 
about first testing America? Without that, we can't fully track and 
contain this virus. We need to make sure that the money we provided for 
testing is actually going to testing. We need to make sure that our 
hospitals have all the PPE equipment that they need.
  In my home city of Worcester in Massachusetts, we recently opened up 
a field hospital in our convention center. The day before we opened, 
there was considerable anxiety because they had enough PPE maybe to 
last for a couple of days. Now working together with the governor and 
others, we were able to remedy that situation, but for so many of our 
healthcare institutions, for our first responders, trying to find PPE 
is like something out of the movie The Hunger Games. States competing 
with States, competing with the Federal Government, people receiving 
calls--I know somebody who knows somebody in China who might have 
lifesaving masks. Can you maybe follow up that lead? That is not the 
way this is supposed to work.
  In the United States of America, the wealthiest Nation on the face of 
the Earth, officials are making cold calls to try to get enough 
equipment to survive the next surge of patients. Relying on the 
goodwill of people and businesses when they should be able to count on 
Federal agencies. Congress provided money for this equipment. We need 
to make sure it is going where it is badly needed.
  Madam Speaker, as we talk today about what Congress has done, I want 
to take a moment to talk about what it has not done, and that is 
provide enough for hungry families during this pandemic.
  You know, the President and so many of his allies in the Senate 
continue to block efforts to increase SNAP benefits for hungry people 
trying to put food on the table for their families. The demand for food 
banks right now wraps around city blocks in some places. We have seen 
it on TV. The lines go for miles. This is a crisis of food insecurity 
that we haven't seen in this country since the Great Depression.
  Madam Speaker, whatever happened to taking care of the neediest among 
us? Maybe the President doesn't have to worry about where his next meal 
is going to come from, but millions and millions and millions of 
Americans do. They are terrified.
  We should be suspending this administration's SNAP cuts. We should be 
strengthening nutrition assistance for those impacted by this pandemic. 
And we should be showing the American people that ending hunger is not 
a partisan issue. But some on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue 
have chosen instead to take meals away from families.
  Just yesterday the Secretary of Agriculture tried to paper over their 
disgraceful record by taking credit for the bill that we passed in a 
bipartisan way in Congress. The USDA didn't increase SNAP benefits by 
40 percent; the House Democrats led that charge and, thankfully, many 
of my Republican colleagues supported that in the Families First bill.
  And by the way, while we are at it, USDA was in court trying to kick 
millions of people off of SNAP through their disastrous regulatory 
  The only thing this administration has done is to try to push people 
off of nutrition assistance. I think it is coldhearted and I think it 
is cruel for the Senate majority leader and others to turn their backs 
on struggling families. That needs to be fixed, and it has to be fixed 
in our next bill. And I hope in this Chamber, we can come together--
Democrats and Republicans--and deal with it.
  I know that it is unrelated to the underlying measure here, but 
hungry families are being ignored in this country. Sadly, even in the 
best of times, poor people oftentimes get ignored by this Chamber. I 
worry that in the worst of times, what we are going through right now, 
that these people, these individuals, these families become invisible. 
We cannot let that happen. I want them to know that this House is 
listening to them, and we will continue to fight to strengthen the 
programs they rely on.
  Now, I don't know what is radical about that. Just as I don't 
understand why some on the other side are against a subcommittee that 
is designed to make sure that Federal dollars are spent well.

                              {time}  1015

  I mean, that is what this is about. That is it.

[[Page H1909]]

  This is an extraordinary time. We have sent trillions of dollars into 
our communities. They should be going to small businesses and not to 
big corporations--our workers, not the wealthy and those already well-
off. Our workers are the ones who should be our priority. We need to 
make sure that that is what is happening here.
  If you believe this administration has done things perfectly, then 
you have nothing to fear. But the American people have a lot of 
questions and they deserve answers, and they expect us to live up to 
our constitutional responsibilities with regard to oversight, and they 
deserve to know that their tax dollars are being well spent.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I want to thank my good friend, Mr. McGovern, the distinguished 
chairman of the House Rules Committee, for yielding me the customary 30 
  Madam Speaker, let me quickly respond to my friend's mention about 
the group that will work on reopening Congress. I look forward to 
working with my friend and our colleagues on that particular issue.
  I do want to point out, it is important to note, last night we 
actually did function as a committee under the chairman's leadership, 
and we got our work done. We are on the floor right now getting our 
work done. The executive branch is in Washington, D.C., right now 
getting its work done.
  The President and the Vice President aren't hunkered down in Cheyenne 
Mountain. They are in the West Wing working every day. The Joint Chiefs 
of Staff are in the Pentagon, working every day. Every Cabinet member 
is working every day.
  I just say that to note that other people are able to get their jobs 
done with appropriate changes and appropriate precautions, so I rule 
nothing in or out.
  I look forward to listening to my colleague, but I do think we are 
capable of working in the House of Representatives, and I will be 
extraordinarily cautious about giving up procedures and precedents that 
are 230-plus years old.
  Madam Speaker, we are here today to consider a rule that creates 
Speaker Pelosi's proposed select committee on the coronavirus pandemic. 
Earlier this month, Speaker Pelosi announced that she would create this 
select committee, conveniently ignoring that any such select committee 
must be established through the Rules Committee and, ultimately, 
through a vote on the House floor.
  Yesterday, the Rules Committee met on extremely short notice to, 
essentially, rubberstamp the Speaker's action. This was particularly 
egregious considering that, up until right before we met, we had 
absolutely no details on the proposal.
  In the last month, the Speaker gave the minority no notice of her 
plans, no indication of her rationale or vision, and was radio silent 
since her announcement, except for the occasional media mention. In 
fact, we did not even know we were meeting on this item until the 
afternoon of the hearing. That is hardly the way to operate on 
something the Speaker purportedly wants to do in a bipartisan fashion.
  Perhaps even more problematic, Madam Speaker, is that I am not sure 
what the end goal of such committee will be. Speaker Pelosi claims that 
the proposed select committee will examine all aspects of the Federal 
response to the coronavirus pandemic and will provide oversight for 
Federal dollars being spent in response.
  But Congress already has significant oversight tools at our disposal. 
The CARES Act itself established a five-member Congressional Oversight 
Commission specifically for that problem. That Commission is in 
addition to Congress' other oversight tools, which include the House 
Committee on Oversight and Reform and the oversight subcommittees that 
exist on most other permanent House committees.
  If we already have a separate Oversight Commission specifically for 
the CARES Act and we already have a separate Oversight and Reform 
Committee and each committee already has separate oversight committees, 
what, then, is the actual purpose of the proposed select committee?
  It is entirely plausible for one to conclude that this new select 
committee will simply turn into yet another partisan witch hunt aimed 
at damaging the President.
  There may be a time in the future when it makes sense to establish a 
commission, like the 9/11 Commission, to review the COVID-19 pandemic 
and the government response. I actually support doing that at an 
appropriate time. But such a commission needs to be truly bipartisan 
and devoted to what happened and what we can learn from it to improve 
government responses for the future. This select committee doesn't meet 
that test.
  Before I reserve my time, later today, the House will be voting on 
the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This 
bipartisan bill is the next step and follow-up to the CARES Act, which 
Congress passed a few weeks ago.
  Today's bill includes $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection 
Program, a critical program for protecting small businesses and their 
employees. It also includes $75 billion for hospitals on the front line 
of the coronavirus pandemic and a further $25 billion for coronavirus 
  Refilling the Paycheck Protection Program account will help countless 
small businesses and their employees across the country, including 
hundreds in my district. Frankly, refilling this important account 
could not come soon enough. It should have happened a week ago. But I 
am fully supportive of this important bill, and I look forward to 
voting in favor of it later today.
  I urge opposition to the rule, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I include in the Record an article, 
entitled, ``Democrats Pushed for Robust Oversight of the $2.2 Trillion 
Coronavirus Aid Package. It Hasn't Happened Yet,'' detailing the need 
for oversight. The article explains that rapidly approved funds are 
being spent quickly with little monitoring or oversight.

                      [From TIME, April 17, 2020]

Democrats Pushed for Robust Oversight of the $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus 
                  Aid Package. It Hasn't Happened Yet

                          (By Alana Abramson)

       Some of the most heated negotiations between Democrats and 
     Republicans over last month's $2.2 trillion coronavirus 
     relief package were over who should watch how that money gets 
     spent. It is the largest emergency relief fund the U.S. 
     government has ever approved, and concerns over fraud and 
     abuse were rife. In particular, Democrats were outraged that 
     Republicans and the White House wanted to let the Treasury 
     Department distribute $500 billion to industry and states 
     without anyone overseeing the process, and vowed to block any 
     bill without that safeguard in place.
       ``There was this idea that they put forth that there would 
     be a $500 billion slush fund for the Secretary of the 
     Treasury with no accountability whatsoever. Are you 
     kidding?'' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last month after 
     the bill passed the Senate. ``For all respect in the world 
     for the Treasury Secretary, that was a complete nonstarter.''
       Ultimately, the bill signed into law by President Donald 
     Trump mandates the massive tranche of aid will be overseen 
     through three key mechanisms: an inspector general at the 
     Treasury Department to oversee that $500 billion Treasury 
     fund, and Congress and executive branch panels, which will 
     also monitor the Treasury fund and broadly oversee the law's 
     implementation, respectively.
       But more than two weeks later, after hundreds of billions 
     of dollars have already flown out the door through the 
     Paycheck Protection Program, the Treasury's Inspector General 
     post has not yet been confirmed by the Senate and the two 
     panels are not fully staffed. Congress is preoccupied with 
     the unprecedented task of managing dueling public health and 
     economic crises remotely, and Trump, whose administration has 
     blocked Congressional oversight for years, has already 
     threatened to scuttle the process. When he signed the bill 
     into law in March, he said he would not allow the Inspector 
     General overseeing the executive branch's committee to submit 
     reports to Congress without his supervision, arguing it was 
       ``It's incredibly problematic . . . those oversight 
     mechanisms don't do us much good if they aren't 
     functioning,'' Liz Hempowicz, Director of Public Policy at 
     the Project on Government Oversight, wrote in an e-mail to 
     TIME. ``This money is being spent incredibly quickly. The 
     (Small Business Administration) has already spent the $349 
     billion dollars allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program. 
     It's imperative that these oversight mechanisms are fully 
     functional so we can have confidence that this money won't be 
     lost to waste, fraud, or abuse.''
       The group with the broadest oversight jurisdiction in the 
     $2.2 trillion CARES Act is the executive branch panel, called 
     the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. Glenn Fine, 
     who was acting Inspector General at the Pentagon, was quickly 

[[Page H1910]]

     to lead the committee at the end of last month but was 
     removed by Trump just a week later. The President did not 
     provide a specific reason, but Fine's ouster was part of a 
     broader re-shuffling of watchdogs.
       Although the committee is composed of nearly two dozen 
     inspectors general who have been appointed, the top spot 
     remains vacant. The law mandates that Michael Horowitz, the 
     Inspector General for the Department of Justice who heads the 
     Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and 
     Efficiency, appoint a new head, but he has not yet announced 
     Fine's replacement. A spokesperson for Horowitz did not 
     respond to a query about when a new replacement would be 
       On April 4, Trump announced that he had appointed Brian 
     Miller to serve as the Inspector General for the Treasury 
     department. Miller has over 15 years of federal experience; 
     he spent nine years as the Inspector General for the General 
     Services Administration, working under former Presidents 
     George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But since 2018, he has 
     worked as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior 
     Associate Counsel in the White House counsel's office. His 
     tenure there coincided with some of the White House counsel's 
     most high profile feuds with House Democrats in their 
     oversight probes, including Trump's impeachment last 
       Democrats lambasted Miller's appointment, arguing that a 
     Trump staffer would be unable to exercise the kind of 
     independence the job requires. ``To nominate a member of the 
     President's own staff is exactly the wrong type of person to 
     choose for this position,'' Senate Minority Leader Chuck 
     Schumer said in a statement after Trump's announcement. Since 
     confirmations of presidential appointees now only require a 
     simple majority in the Senate, it's likely that Miller will 
     be confirmed despite Democrats' objections. But since he 
     cannot be confirmed by unanimous consent, lawmakers have to 
     physically be in Washington for that to happen--and they are 
     not expected to return until May 4th at the earliest.
       The final component of the oversight framework, the 
     Congressional commission, is also incomplete. The bill 
     mandates that the top four leaders in Congress--Schumer, 
     Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House 
     Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy--each select a member for the 
     panel. The fifth member will chair the committee and be 
     jointly selected by Pelosi and McConnell.
       Schumer has appointed Bharat Ramamurti, who previously 
     worked for Elizabeth Warren as an economic adviser, on the 
     panel. On Friday, McCarthy announced he had selected Rep. 
     French Hill, McConnell announced he had chosen Pennsylvania 
     Sen. Pat Toomey, and Pelosi selected Florida Rep. Donna 
     Shalala. But as of Friday evening, the chair has not been 
     selected, so the panel can't fully function. Pelosi told 
     reporters in her weekly press conference on Thursday that she 
     and McConnell had agreed to submit names to each other for 
     their joint pick.
       There are signs that additional oversight of the massive 
     relief package not set up expressly in the law is also moving 
     forward. Pelosi has appointed House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn 
     to lead the House Select Committee on the coronavirus crisis, 
     which she says will be a bipartisan committee dedicated to 
     oversight of all of the funds. And McConnell announced Friday 
     that Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will lead the Senate's efforts.
       In a New York Times op-ed earlier this week, Ramamurti 
     urged Congress to act swiftly so his specific panel can get 
     to work. ``Our watching eyes can help ensure that the money 
     broadly benefits American families,'' he wrote. ``There isn't 
     time to waste.''

  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I include for the Record an article, 
entitled, ``Congressional Oversight of the CARES Act Could Prove 
Troublesome,'' detailing the need for oversight. The article says 
oversight will help limit fraud and accelerate effective use of 
appropriated funds.

                    [From Brookings, April 15, 2020]

    Congressional Oversight of the CARES Act Could Prove Troublesome

                           (By Jackson Gode)

       On March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act 
     providing for more than $2 Trillion in federal spending in 
     response to the COVID-19 crisis. Overseeing the outlay of 
     relief funding from the bill will be no easy task, given its 
     size, complexity and the backdrop of the 2020 election.
       However, this is not the first time that a major government 
     rescue package has included oversight measures. The 2008 
     Emergency Economic Stabilization Act created the office of 
     the Special Inspector General for the Targeted Asset Relief 
     Program the powers of which were strengthened by the SIGTARP 
     Act of 2009. In just over a decade, SIGTARP has recovered $11 
     Billion in misspent funds and successfully convicted 380 
     fraudulent actors, leading many to consider it a success.
       Members of Congress sought to mimic this success by 
     including three major mechanisms to oversee spending within 
     the CARES Act. The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee 
     will be made up of Inspectors General from, at minimum, nine 
     federal agencies, and be responsible for oversight of outlays 
     for the entire bill. A new office within the Department of 
     the Treasury, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic 
     Recovery, will oversee the $500 billion Treasury fund for 
     targeted loans to large businesses. Brian Miller, a White 
     House lawyer and former GSA Inspector General, has already 
     been selected for this role. Finally, a Congressional 
     Oversight Commission will include four members appointed by 
     party leadership in each chamber and a chairperson agreed to 
     by the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader. 
     The Commission will oversee economic stability efforts by the 
     Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board.
       The CARES Act also includes funding increases for several 
     preexisting oversight bodies providing more than $140 million 
     for Inspectors General offices to investigate various aspects 
     of the bill and $20 million in funds for the Government 
     Accountability Office.
       Even with these mechanisms and funding increases, Congress 
     will face several unique challenges while conducting 
     substantive oversight of pandemic relief.
       First, the Trump Administration has indicated reluctance to 
     cooperate with oversight inquiries. Immediately after 
     President Trump signed the CARES Act, the White House 
     released a statement outlining his constitutional concerns 
     with the newly created Pandemic Response Accountability 
     Committee and Special Inspector General for Pandemic 
       This is not the first time that Trump has questioned the 
     legitimacy of oversight efforts. The administration is 
     currently tied up in several court battles regarding the 
     executive branch's ability to withhold information from 
     Congress. On March 16th, nearly a year after the original 
     request, the Supreme Court postponed oral arguments in a case 
     regarding the House Ways and Means Committee's efforts to 
     obtain President Trump's tax returns. The administration has 
     also withheld information related to White House security 
     clearances, natural disaster relief efforts, and other areas 
     of potential misconduct.
       Second, both the House and Senate are on recess and it 
     remains unclear when they will return. Once members come back 
     to Washington, the number of committee hearings they hold 
     will likely be lower than normal with social distancing 
     recommendations remaining in effect.
       Hearings are an essential part of Congress's oversight 
     mandate as they provide lawmakers with a public platform to 
     question administration officials that many rank-and-file 
     members do not receive on a day-to-day basis. In place of 
     hearings, members will have to rely more heavily on written 
     correspondence. While letters have the potential to be more 
     effective than hearings at obtaining detailed information, 
     recipients are only legally required to respond to inquiries 
     from committee chairs.
       The current administration has made a habit of ignoring 
     written information requests and it remains too soon to tell 
     whether COVID-19 oversight will be met with similar 
     resistance. Documents released by the House Oversight and 
     Reform Committee on the availability of medical supplies from 
     the federal government's stockpile suggest that the 
     administration is responding to at least some inquiries. 
     Partial or private responses however, can make it difficult 
     for committees to signal a lack of cooperation to the public.
       Third, as their efforts to oversee the Trump administration 
     response ramp up, House Democrats may find themselves 
     confronting intra-party cooperation challenges. Due to the 
     political visibility of the pandemic, committee chairs will 
     likely compete to demonstrate their willingness to hold the 
     administration accountable. Coordination among Democrats will 
     be necessary to ensure that panels' efforts are 
     complementary, rather than competitive.
       Conflict between the parties will also create challenges. 
     The creation of a Select Committee on the Coronavirus 
     Pandemic already seems to be increasing tensions between 
     Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin 
     McCarthy (R-Calif.) who indicated that Republicans will 
     object to a unanimous consent request creating the panel. 
     Speaker Pelosi has signaled the profile she expects the 
     committee's work to have by naming Majority Whip Jim Clyburn 
     (D-S.C.) as chair. The committee will have subpoena power, 
     but the House's experience so far this Congress with having 
     to go to court to try to enforce subpoenas illustrates the 
     limits of that tool.
       Finally, the Trump administration has become famous for 
     vacancies and ``acting'' officials in the highest positions 
     of government. By tolerating a large number of acting 
     positions, the Senate has given up one of its most important 
     tools for influencing executive branch conduct. On April 3rd, 
     the President nominated five individuals to Inspector General 
     positions. However, while the Senate remains on recess, those 
     roles will continue to be served by officials in an acting 
       Four of the IG offices receiving funding increases from the 
     CARES Act are currently headed by acting officials. Notably, 
     Glenn Fine, the Department of Defense Inspector General who 
     was originally appointed as the Chairman of PRAC, only served 
     in an acting capacity. On April 7th, President Trump removed 
     him from the DOD IG role and appointed EPA Inspector General 
     Sean O'Donnell, making Fine ineligible to be PRAC Chairman.

[[Page H1911]]

       Congress will face many challenges protecting against fraud 
     and helping an economy stalled by the pandemic, which may 
     require members to find unique solutions for ensuring 
     effective implementation of the CARES Act. With $2 trillion 
     of taxpayer money on the line, nothing is more important than 
     effective oversight.

  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I include for the Record an April 4 ABC 
News article, entitled, ``Experts Warn About Big Dollar Fraud in $2.2 
Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package.''

                     [From ABC News, April 4, 2020]

Experts Warn About Big Dollar Fraud in $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief 

                          (By Benjamin Siegel)

       The U.S. government's historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus 
     aid relief package recently approved by Congress is highly 
     vulnerable to fraud and abuse, oversight experts and veteran 
     watchdogs who investigated abuse of the government's 
     financial system bailout more than a decade ago told ABC 
       The size of the unprecedented relief package--in the scale 
     of spending and the number of businesses eligible for funds--
     will make it difficult to verify the information from each 
     applicant, and how they plan to use their money.
       With roughly 10 million Americans filing jobless claims 
     over the last two weeks, and millions of small businesses 
     seeking government aid to stay afloat, the need for the 
     government to immediately push out money to Americans and 
     into the staggering economy could hinder efforts to filter 
     out efforts from potential fraudsters to seek relief funds.
       Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET 
     every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus 
     with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, 
     context and analysis.
       ``Everybody's acceptance of some or a lot of fraud is going 
     to have to be high, because it's going to happen,'' said Earl 
     Devaney, who served as the top watchdog of the Recovery 
     Accountability and Transparency Board, which tracked the 
     stimulus spending following the Great Recession in the late 
       Though the legislation mandates multiple oversight bodies, 
     if even a small percentage of the funds are misused, it could 
     mean fraud on the scale of potentially millions, if not 
     billions, before there are any efforts to recoup losses, 
     according to experts.
       They see the $350 billion in funding earmarked for small 
     businesses in the form of forgivable loans as particularly 
     susceptible to abuse. Millions of small business owners began 
     applying to banks for the loans on Friday, though many 
     applicants and lenders experienced problems with the 
     program's rollout.
       While the Treasury Department has said money will begin 
     flowing immediately, some institutions, including JP Morgan 
     Chase, said Thursday they would not be ready to receive 
     applications by Friday.
       Other veteran investigators are concerned that the review 
     process, which leaves it up to banks to vet potential 
     borrowers and applicants to attest to their eligibility, 
     doesn't give authorities enough time to effectively weed out 
     potential fraud.
       ``If you have fewer entities that has a lot of implications 
     for oversight. It's fewer entities to worry about. But it 
     also means that the processes for application can be a little 
     more thoughtful,'' Neil Barofsky, the former special 
     inspector general of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief 
     Program (TARP), told ABC News.
       ``In contrast here, the very purpose of these programs is 
     not to impact a relatively small number of institutions but 
     to reach as far and wide as possible,'' he said.
       The small business loan initiative, known as the Paycheck 
     Protection Program, will be ``an extraordinarily easy program 
     to defraud, and it will be defrauded in massive ways,'' he 
       The $2.2 trillion, 880-page CARES ACT approved by Congress 
     last week included oversight provisions, modeled after some 
     of the safeguards implemented to track the financial system 
     bailout and stimulus money after the Great Recession.
       It formed three major groups to lead oversight efforts: A 
     new special inspector general, who will be nominated by Trump 
     and confirmed by the Senate, will be responsible for 
     oversight of the $500 billion fund administered by the 
     Treasury Department and Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
       Trump plans to nominate Brian Miller, a special assistant 
     to the president and senior associate counsel in the Office 
     of White House Counsel, to serve as inspector general, the 
     White House announced Friday night.
       A five-member panel appointed by a bipartisan group of 
     lawmakers will monitor the Treasury Department program and 
     Federal Reserve's implementation of the stimulus package.
       The third group, the Pandemic Response Accountability 
     Committee, have the broadest mandate, aimed at rooting out 
     waste and fraud throughout programs in the entire $2.2 
     trillion relief package.
       Led by Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general of the 
     Department of Defense who was part of the panel's precursor 
     following the financial crisis, the group will be able to 
     conduct audits, subpoena individuals and information, and 
     refer matters to the Justice Department for investigation.
       ``Every time there's kind of an emergency surge in spending 
     like this it's even more important that there's additional 
     layers of oversight to make sure that everything is on the up 
     and up,'' Liz Hempowicz, the director of public policy at the 
     Project on Government Oversight, told ABC News.
       House and Senate Democrats, who were particularly worried 
     about how the $500 billion supervised by Mnuchin will be 
     awarded, also pushed Republicans to add additional language 
     into the legislation preventing President Trump, his family, 
     top government officials and lawmakers from receiving loans 
     or investments from the Treasury programs.
       Already, there are signs that President Trump and Democrats 
     could tangle over oversight of the massive stimulus programs 
     as money begins to flow from the federal government to 
     workers and businesses.
       Trump's plans to nominate Miller, a former inspector 
     general for the General Services Administration, will likely 
     be met with criticism by Democrats. Inspectors General are 
     typically independent and apolitical appointees; Miller 
     played a role in rebuffing investigations into the withheld 
     military aid to Ukraine that led to Trump's impeachment.
       In a signing statement last week, Trump said he wouldn't 
     allow the inspector general to share information with 
     Congress without ``presidential supervision,'' objecting to 
     the provisions of the law that require the watchdog to notify 
     Congress when they are ``unreasonably'' denied information 
     about the stimulus program.
       Democrats criticized the comments, and on Thursday House 
     Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of a special 
     select committee to provide additional oversight of the 
     recovery funds and the administration's management of the 
     coronavirus crisis, a move Republicans and the White House 
     quickly condemned as redundant.
       Mnuchin on Thursday said he didn't think the panel was 
       ``Both parties wanted us to have oversight, wanted us to 
     have transparency. We have full transparency,'' he said at 
     the daily White House coronavirus briefing.
       ``It's witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt,'' 
     Trump said of the select committee at the same briefing.
       Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., 
     on Saturday, issued the following statement on the nomination 
     of Brian Miller to be special inspector general for pandemic 
       ``The special inspector general needs to be independent 
     above all. Someone who currently works in the White House 
     counsel's office, serving a president who has tried to 
     silence other inspector generals and announced his intention 
     to silence this one, is not independent. It's no wonder 
     President Trump announced this nomination late on a Friday 
       ``While Mr. Miller has requisite experience for this 
     position, he must clear a high bar to show the Senate he 
     would protect the interests of the American people over the 
     political interests of this administration.''
       While it's not uncommon for both parties to snipe over the 
     use--and potential abuse--of stimulus funds, the level of 
     partisanship in Washington and the immediate need for the 
     funds to be delivered to businesses and Americans make this 
     situation much more difficult than the oversight efforts 
     following the last recession, Devaney told ABC News.
       ``The atmosphere on the Hill, I thought it was acrimonious 
     when I was there. It's a lot worse today and I suspect that 
     whoever takes this job is going to be testifying once a 
     week,'' he said of the eventual special inspector general.
       Former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Virginia, who served as chair of 
     the House Oversight Committee, defended the stimulus package, 
     given the time constraints put on lawmakers and the Trump 
       ``It's unlike anything I've ever seen in the last 50 
     years,'' he told ABC News. ``Emergency situations call for 
     emergency measures. You can't sit and write layers and layers 
     of oversight.''
       ``There's always going to be money going to people who 
     shouldn't have gotten it,'' Davis said. ``The question is, 
     what were the alternatives?
       Lawmakers and coronavirus stimulus watchdogs won't just 
     have this historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus package to 
     police. Conversations have already started on Capitol Hill 
     around a fourth phase of relief funding, including more money 
     for small businesses.

  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, this emergency surge in spending to 
confront the coronavirus is unprecedented, but the idea of what we are 
establishing is not. As I said, then-Senator Truman proposed it at the 
dawn of World War II. It worked then, and it will work now as well.
  So if you believe that this administration has nothing to hide, then 
nobody should oppose this and let the American people see how their 
money is being spent.
  Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from California 
(Ms. Pelosi), the distinguished Speaker of the House, who has been an 
incredible leader during this pandemic.
  Ms. PELOSI. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I 
thank him for his leadership as chair of the Rules Committee for 
bringing this important legislation to the floor today.

[[Page H1912]]

  I also acknowledge the bipartisan cooperation of the Republicans in 
this House and pay tribute to Mr. Cole, who is highly respected on both 
sides of the aisle. I am sorry that he doesn't see a pattern in this, 
as the Republicans have had these kinds of committees time and again. I 
never heard him question them then, but I do hear him questioning them 
  But I am very pleased that the two of them will be working together 
with the distinguished majority leader, Mr. Hoyer, and the 
distinguished Republican leader, Mr. McCarthy, as well as with the 
leadership of Chairwoman Lofgren and Ranking Member Davis in the days 
ahead to consider the proposal that we have for how we can act as a 
Congress when everybody cannot be present.
  I see in the paper that I pulled it. No, I didn't pull it. I said all 
along I wanted this to be bipartisan. As Speaker of the whole House, as 
we changed how we participate, I wanted it to be bipartisan. When we 
saw that that opportunity existed, in my conversation with the 
distinguished Republican leader, Mr. McCarthy, I then said we have to 
give this a chance.
  I do think that there are many options that may be available. We want 
to give all the options to our Members, but consistent with the 
Constitution of the United States, the rules of the House of 
Representatives, the security of this body's information, as well as, 
again, the technology to make sure it works when we are depending on 
  So I yield to the wisdom that they will bring to all of this to give 
Members as many options as possible and to do so in a way that, again, 
is respectful of this being the coronavirus--and not just for how we do 
business generally, but in this specific time--as, also, a template for 
any other kind of emergency that might arise.
  So I thank the chairman and I thank Ranking Member Cole for their 
comments about willingness to discuss that, and hopefully by the time 
we return, if that is May 4, we will have an opportunity to vote in a 
bipartisan way on how we can do that.
  By the way, when we are talking about proxy voting, we have to be 
sure that it is consistent with the wishes of the Member of Congress 
who is yielding a proxy, consistent with his or her representation of 
their district. It is not just a license to the proxy holder to work 
his or her well or the leadership to have a handful of proxies. It is 
about the actual representation of that person whose district, his or 
her district, wishes to vote on a matter, with not that much latitude 
except as spelled out by the granter of the proxy.
  As a new Member of Congress--some of you may have identified with 
this--I would go into a committee room and think I had the best 
argument in the world for my new, fresh idea as a Member of Congress, 
and the chairman would have a pocketful of proxies and there was no 
need to even have a discussion if he or she were not in agreement. So I 
have been a victim of that, and I don't want there to be any doubt in 
mind that it is a complete, accurate, guardrailed reflection of the 
wish of the person granting the proxy.
  Having said that, I want to salute our distinguished chairman for his 
championship. He has gone on starvation, this, that, and the other on 
behalf of solving the hunger crisis, the food insecurity crisis in our 
country, and his enthusiasm on SNAP and what we are doing as we go 
forward, the recognition that people are hungry in our country and that 
we have to do something about it.
  But hearing him as chair of the Rules Committee talk about that, 
recognizing his history, chair of the task force on hunger, so many 
times going on starvation diets and I would say, ``Why are you doing 
that? I am not sure the other side even cares if you are on a 
starvation diet,'' but, nonetheless, I salute the gentleman again and 
again for his leadership on that.
  So, Madam Speaker, here we are, and I thank Mr. McGovern, our 
distinguished chairman, for bringing this resolution to the floor, 
again for his great leadership trying to move us forward in a 
bipartisan way to continue the operations of Congress during this 
extraordinary time. I again acknowledge Mr. Cole's interest in doing 
that as well.

  Our Nation faces a deadly virus, a battered economy with tens of 
thousands of sick, some died, millions out of work. This is really a 
very, very, very sad day.
  We come to the floor with nearly 50,000 deaths, a huge number of 
people impacted, and the uncertainty of it all. We have to be very 
prayerful, and we have to be as bipartisan as we can possibly be, as 
united, working together.
  The bill we will vote on later today, which I will speak about later 
today, is the fourth bipartisan bill that we will be passing in the 
Congress of the United States. Starting March 4, we had our first bill: 
testing, testing, testing; shortly thereafter, the 14th: masks, masks, 
masks, in terms of the personal protective equipment that people 
needed; and, again, our big CARES Act, which was bipartisan, as is this 
bill today. That is why I hope, as we continue to talk about how 
Congress conducts itself, we can do so in a bipartisan way.
  Congress, again, has taken important steps in addressing this crisis, 
as I mentioned, by passing three bills, over $2 trillion in desperately 
needed emergency relief. We started: emergency, emergency, mitigation 
for the impact on the health and the economy of our country. We hope to 
soon get to a recovery phase. But right now, we are still in 
  Again, later today, as we pass this, the fourth bill and urgently 
needed interim bill, I am very pleased that it was transformed from a 
bill 2 weeks ago on the floor where the leader in the Senate said: This 
is it, 250. We are not doing anything else.
  That failed to get unanimous consent. At the same time, that other 
proposal was put forth. But I will talk about that later.
  Again, why we are here for this particular initiative is we need to 
ensure that the historic advancement of dollars in these bills and in 
future packages are spent carefully and effectively to save lives and 
rebuild our economy.

                              {time}  1030

  As the distinguished chairman mentioned, at the dawn of World War II, 
then-Senator Harry Truman spearheaded the creation of a special 
committee to ensure that the dollars spent on the war effort had 
oversight and accountability.
  Now, there was a democratic President in the White House, President 
Roosevelt, so this was not partisan in any way, nor should this be 
considered partisan. The purpose was to prevent waste, fraud, and 
abuse, profiteering, price-gouging, and the rest.
  As Truman said later, when he was President, he was interviewed about 
this and he said: I knew that after World War I there had been 116 
committees set up to investigate the money spent in World War I. 116 
committees, after the fact. He said: First of all, there had been 116 
investigating committees after the fact, and I felt one committee 
before the fact would prevent a lot of waste and maybe even save some 
lives. And that, he said, is the way it worked out.
  The Truman committee turned into a tremendous investment for 
taxpayers. The total cost at the time was less than $1 million, and it 
saved lives and nearly $15 billion by preventing waste, fraud, and 
abuse. That is the equivalent of like $750 billion today.
  What made sense then makes even more sense now. That is why the House 
is forming a special bipartisan oversight panel, the House Select 
Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
  And by the way, Mr. Cole, I did inform the distinguished leader of my 
intention to announce such a thing before I did.
  The committee won't root out waste, fraud, and abuse. We keep saying 
it. It will be laser focused on ensuring that taxpayer money goes to 
workers' paychecks and benefits, and it will ensure that the Federal 
response is based on the best possible science and guided by health 
experts and that the money invested is not being exploited by 
profiteers and price-gougers.
  We already have been hearing of families facing scams. There are 
people out there creating scams to steal the direct payment checks. The 
Secretary of HHS told me of a scam, one entity was selling masks they 
didn't even have. That is why this is so important, and that timing is 
important, so people know we will be watching how these tax dollars are 
  I agree with Mr. Cole. There is plenty of time later for an after-
action review of what went before. What we are

[[Page H1913]]

talking about is how this money is spent as we go forward, to make 
sure, as President Truman--Senator Truman at the time--did, to put a 
spotlight on the factories that were doing the work that they were 
supposed to be doing.
  We have a tall order in terms of vaccines and therapies and the rest, 
and we want to be sure that if there is, God willing, a vaccine soon or 
a cure, even sooner than that, that we will be able to have the 
resources available in places where they need to be in real time, to be 
able to advance that.
  Led by Majority Whip Clyburn--and I am very proud of him, Mr. 
Clyburn. I had the privilege of naming him then to oversee what was 
happening in response to Katrina, and he just was magnificent in his 
precision of thought and objectivity.
  And again, this isn't about assigning blame. This is about taking 
responsibility and to be able to answer for what we have put forth, 
that it really did work.
  And so, the committee will exercise oversight to ensure that the 
historic investment of taxpayers' dollars, which is enormous, are being 
used wisely and efficiently and that nobody is ripping us off. Because 
where there is big money--we know this--people will come up with a scam 
of some kind.
  Mr. Clyburn's leadership, again, is essential to the work. His review 
of the response to Hurricane Katrina, which I mentioned, and so many 
issues critical to working families, I am proud that he has accepted 
the opportunity to serve our country in this role now.
  We urge our Republican colleagues and the administration to join us 
in respecting this oversight, that we can save lives, deliver relief, 
and protect our economy. And I say this with all the hope that I can 
muster, that we can do this in a very bipartisan way.
  So anyone who is thinking of a scam or a delay in terms of how the 
product we are looking out for is produced and how available it is to 
everyone in our country, they will know that we, again, are watching 
from both sides of the aisle how taxpayers' dollars are being spent.
  With that, I once again thank the distinguished chairman for bringing 
this important legislation to the floor. I hope that we may--on a 
different side of this vote, when the committee is formed--have much in 
common in how we put a very bright light on how the money is spent to 
make people healthier, to make our economy stronger, and to do so in a 
way that brings us all together.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Speaker for her kind and 
thoughtful remarks.
  I also want to acknowledge--I am going to follow her example. I think 
we should keep our mask on when we are doing our normal business but 
take them off when we are speaking. And thank you for setting that 
example, Madam Speaker.
  With that, I would like to yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Arizona (Mrs. Lesko).
  Mrs. LESKO. Madam Speaker, first, I want to say that I am praying for 
comfort for all of the families that have lost someone to COVID-19. I 
also want to pray for the families and those people that are in the 
hospitals now sick from COVID-19, that they have total and complete 
  And I want to thank the healthcare workers, the grocery store 
workers, the truckers, everybody that every day is putting their health 
at risk and their family's health at risk to keep the economy going and 
to help Americans.
  And it is really good to be back here today in Congress working and 
continuing to do our job during this crisis.
  You know, two weeks ago, in the Senate--it was two weeks ago now--the 
Senate Republicans put up a bill to help continue funding for small 
businesses so they could pay their workers. Two weeks--two weeks--we 
have been waiting around while Democrats have been delaying it. And 
why? I don't understand why.
  I have had businesses, just like all of my fellow Members of 
Congress, that have called me and said: I need the money; I need the 
money from this program, or my business is going to go under.
  Two weeks ago this could have happened. But, no, in those two weeks, 
millions and millions more people filed for unemployment insurance. And 
why? We could have done this funding for small businesses so they could 
pay their workers two weeks ago. I am thankful that we are finally--
finally--getting it done.
  Now, the rule talks about Speaker Pelosi's oversight committee. Maybe 
that is the reason that Democrats delayed funding for small businesses 
and their workers for two weeks.
  Why do we need another oversight committee? Speaker Pelosi said, oh, 
it is going to be all bipartisan. I am sorry; I don't believe it. And 
the reason I don't believe it is because since the beginning of 2019, I 
have served on three committees, including Judiciary Committee, and in 
every single committee, the entire goal has been nonstop to criticize 
President Trump and try to influence the 2020 election.
  And now you are going to tell me that you are going to have another 
oversight committee, even though every standing committee has oversight 
on this, and we have inspector generals and the CARES Act has 
oversight. Now we need a ninth committee to do oversight, and it is 
supposedly going to be bipartisan? I am sorry. I call BS.
  And the reason I know this is because of past history. While 
Democrats were focusing on impeachment, the President was working on 
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, the reason why we are doing this is 
because the President is undercutting oversight.
  Madam Speaker, I want to insert in the Record ``Trump Ousts Pandemic 
Spending Watchdog Known for Independence.''

                [From The New York Times, April 7, 2020]

     Trump Ousts Pandemic Spending Watchdog Known for Independence

             (By Ben Protess, Steve Eder, and David Enrich)

       Washington--President Trump moved on Tuesday to oust the 
     leader of a new watchdog panel charged with overseeing how 
     his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in 
     coronavirus pandemic relief, the latest step in an abruptly 
     unfolding White House power play against semi-independent 
     inspectors general across the government.
       The official, Glenn A. Fine, has been the acting inspector 
     general for the Defense Department since before Mr. Trump 
     took office and was set to become the chairman of a new 
     Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to police how the 
     government carries out the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief 
     bill. But Mr. Trump replaced Mr. Fine in his Pentagon job, 
     disqualifying him from serving on the new oversight panel.
       The move came at a time when the president has been 
     reasserting authority over the executive branch and signaling 
     impatience with independent voices within the government that 
     he considers disloyal. In recent days, he fired an inspector 
     general who reviewed the whistle-blower complaint that led to 
     his impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key 
     inspector general post, declared that he would ignore certain 
     oversight provisions in the new relief law and attacked 
     another inspector general who criticized virus testing 
       Mr. Trump even cheered the firing of the captain of an 
     aircraft carrier for sending a letter to fellow Navy officers 
     pleading for help for his virus-stricken crew, castigating 
     the officer for airing unfavorable information. Only after a 
     loud backlash over the firing and the acting Navy secretary's 
     speech calling the captain ``stupid'' did the president 
     partly reverse himself and say he would look into it. The 
     acting Navy secretary, who said he had ordered the firing 
     because he assumed Mr. Trump might have done it himself 
     otherwise, took the hint and resigned on Tuesday.
       The questions of accountability and loyalty within the 
     government have been persistent themes in the past three 
     years as Mr. Trump has repeatedly waged war with what he 
     calls ``the deep state.'' He has rejected the conventional 
     views that figures like the director of the F.B.I., the 
     attorney general, intelligence directors, uniformed military 
     commanders, ethics officers and now inspectors general should 
     have a degree of autonomy.
       At his daily coronavirus briefing, Mr. Trump offered no 
     particular explanation for sidelining Mr. Fine but 
     characterized it as part of a larger shuffle of inspectors 
     general, some of them left over from past administrations, 
     and cited unspecified ``reports of bias.''
       Critics said on Tuesday that it sent a message to 
     government watchdogs to tread softly. ``I cannot see how any 
     inspector general will feel in any way safe to do a good 
     job,'' said Danielle Brian, the executive director of the 
     Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit group. ``They 
     are all at the mercy at what the president feels.''
       But Mr. Trump's allies said he felt burned by the 
     investigations of his campaign and associates and therefore 
     distrusts figures he perceives to be partisan foes within 
     government, particularly former F.B.I. officials who obtained 
     warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or 
     FISA, to investigate a campaign aide's ties to Russia.
       ``I've never heard the president express frustrations about 
     independent oversight,'' said Cliff Sims, a former White 
     House aide.

[[Page H1914]]

     ``But he doesn't think he should be subjected to his 
     political enemies in supposedly apolitical oversight roles. 
     This has been deeply ingrained in his psyche since the moment 
     he learned that FISA had been abused to spy on his 
       In removing Mr. Fine from his role overseeing pandemic 
     spending, Mr. Trump targeted a former Justice Department 
     inspector general who earned a reputation for aggressive 
     independence in scrutinizing the F.B.I.'s use of surveillance 
     and other law enforcement powers in the years after the Sept. 
     11, 2001, attacks.
       Replacing Mr. Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector 
     general will be Sean O'Donnell, who serves as the inspector 
     general at the Environmental Protection Agency and will do 
     double duty for the time being. A group of inspectors general 
     led by Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector 
     general, will determine who will replace Mr. Fine as chairman 
     of the new pandemic oversight committee.
       Created as part of the coronavirus relief bill, the 
     committee consists of nine inspectors general from across the 
     executive branch and will have an $80 million budget to hunt 
     for waste, fraud, abuse and illegality in the disbursement of 
     the $2.2 trillion approved by Congress to provide relief to 
     Americans affected by the pandemic.
       In announcing Mr. Fine's short-lived role last week, Mr. 
     Horowitz had praised him as ``uniquely qualified'' to run 
     oversight of ``large organizations,'' citing his 11 years as 
     the top Justice Department watchdog and his four years 
     serving as the top Pentagon one.
       ``The inspector general community recognizes the need for 
     transparency surrounding, and strong and effective 
     independent oversight of, the federal government's spending 
     in response to this public health crisis,'' Mr. Horowitz said 
     at the time.
       Democrats immediately condemned Mr. Fine's sudden ouster as 
     ``corrupt,'' in the words of Senator Chuck Schumer of New 
     York, the minority leader. ``President Trump is abusing the 
     coronavirus pandemic to eliminate honest and independent 
     public servants because they are willing to speak truth to 
     power and because he is so clearly afraid of strong 
     oversight,'' Mr. Schumer said.
       Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and 
     the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Government Reform 
     Committee, called Mr. Trump's actions ``a direct insult to 
     the American taxpayers--of all political stripes--who want to 
     make sure that their tax dollars are not squandered on 
     wasteful boondoggles, incompetence or political favors.''
       Still, it is not a given that Mr. O'Donnell will toe the 
     line at the Pentagon. At the E.P.A., he has issued reports 
     that are critical of Mr. Trump's appointed administrator, 
     Andrew R. Wheeler, who has sought to limit Mr. O'Donnell's 
     authority and oversight.
       Only last week, after Mr. O'Donnell's office released a 
     report concluding that the E.P.A. failed to adequately warn 
     communities living in proximity to certain carcinogenic 
     chemicals of their health risks, Mr. Wheeler publicly rebuked 
     the inspector general's report for its ``tone and substance'' 
     and demanded that he rescind it. Mr. O'Donnell refused.
       Privately, some people within the government's inspector 
     general community suggested that the appointment of Mr. 
     O'Donnell to the Pentagon post would divert his oversight 
     from the E.P.A., which has continued to move forward with Mr. 
     Trump's agenda of reducing or eliminating public health and 
     environmental regulations, even as the coronavirus rages.
       Before being appointed as the E.P.A. watchdog, Mr. 
     O'Donnell clerked for two federal judges and worked since 
     2005 as a career lawyer at the Justice Department, most 
     recently in the criminal division working on cases involving 
     fraud, corruption and national security.
       At the Pentagon, Mr. O'Donnell will serve in an acting 
     capacity pending Senate action on Jason Abend, a Customs and 
     Border Protection official, who was nominated by Mr. Trump 
     last week to take on the post permanently. Mr. Fine remains 
     the No. 2 official at the Pentagon's watchdog office.
       Late last month, several hours after Mr. Trump signed the 
     $2 trillion coronavirus relief and stimulus bill with fanfare 
     on television, he issued a signing statement challenging a 
     key safeguard congressional Democrats insisted upon as a 
     condition of approving $500 billion in corporate bailout 
     funds: that a special inspector general be empowered to 
     demand information about how the Treasury Department spends 
     the money and who would be required to tell Congress if 
     executive branch officials unreasonably balk.
       In his signing statement, Mr. Trump effectively declared 
     that he could control what information goes to Congress about 
     any disputes over access to information about how and why the 
     money is spent. On Friday, he nominated Brian D. Miller, a 
     White House aide, to serve as the special inspector general 
     overseeing the corporate relief.
       Then late that night, Mr. Trump fired the inspector general 
     for the intelligence community, Michael K. Atkinson, whose 
     insistence on telling Congress about the whistle-blower 
     complaint about Mr. Trump's dealings with Ukraine prompted 
     impeachment proceedings last fall.
       At the same time, Mr. Trump also announced a slew of other 
     inspector general nominees, including Mr. Abend as the new 
     Defense Department inspector general, and three current and 
     former Justice Department officials to be the new inspectors 
     general at the C.I.A., the Education Department and the 
     Tennessee Valley Authority.
       Mr. Trump redoubled his attacks on the acting inspector 
     general for the Department of Health and Human Services, 
     Christi A. Grimm, in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, a day 
     after she released a report about hospitals facing severe 
     shortages in tests as they battle the pandemic:
       Why didn't the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama 
     Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu 
     debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the 
     Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her 
     report. Another Fake Dossier!--Trump Tweet
       On Monday, Mr. Trump had suggested that Ms. Grimm's report 
     was politically biased against him. Ms. Grimm is a career 
     official who began work at the inspector general office late 
     in the Clinton administration and stayed there throughout the 
     Bush and Obama administrations, taking over the role of 
     acting inspector general in an interim capacity this year.
       Mr. Trump's interest in inspectors general has grown more 
     intense lately. Until his most recent nominations, he had 
     failed to pick anyone for about one-third of the 37 inspector 
     general positions that are presidentially appointed, 
     according to the Project on Government Oversight. Those roles 
     were temporarily assumed by other officials whose lack of job 
     security and status typically makes them more cautious than a 
     permanent appointee, government experts say.

  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I also insert into the Record the 
President's signing statement, which is crystal clear that he is trying 
to undercut oversight. So we need to do our job here.

                         STATEMENTS & RELEASES

                       Statement by the President

                      (Issued on: March 27, 2020)


       Today, I have signed into law H.R. 748, the ``Coronavirus 
     Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act'' or the ``CARES'' Act 
     (the ``Act''). The Act makes emergency supplemental 
     appropriations and other changes to law to help the Nation 
     respond to the coronavirus outbreak. I note, however, that 
     the Act includes several provisions that raise constitutional 
       Section 15010(c)(3)(B) of Division B of the Act purports to 
     require the Chairperson of the Council of the Inspectors 
     General on Integrity and Efficiency to consult with members 
     of the Congress regarding the selection of the Executive 
     Director and Deputy Executive Director for the newly formed 
     Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. The Committee is 
     an executive branch entity charged with conducting and 
     coordinating oversight of the Federal Government's response 
     to the coronavirus outbreak. I anticipate that the 
     Chairperson will be able to consult with members of the 
     Congress with respect to these hiring decisions and will 
     welcome their input. But a requirement to consult with the 
     Congress regarding executive decision-making, including with 
     respect to the President's Article II authority to oversee 
     executive branch operations, violates the separation of 
     powers by intruding upon the President's power and duty to 
     supervise the staffing of the executive branch under Article 
     II, section 1 (vesting the President with the ``executive 
     Power'') and Article II, section 3 (instructing the President 
     to ``take Care'' that the laws are faithfully executed). 
     Accordingly, my Administration will treat this provision as 
     hortatory but not mandatory.
       Section 4018 of Division A of the Act establishes a new 
     Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) 
     within the Department of the Treasury to manage audits and 
     investigations of loans and investments made by the Secretary 
     of the Treasury under the Act. Section 4018(e)(4)(B) of the 
     Act authorizes the SIGPR to request information from other 
     government agencies and requires the SIGPR to report to the 
     Congress ``without delay'' any refusal of such a request that 
     ``in the judgment of the Special Inspector General'' is 
     unreasonable. I do not understand, and my Administration will 
     not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue 
     reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision 
     required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3.
       Certain other provisions (such as sections 20001, 21007, 
     and 21010 of Division B of the Act) purport to condition the 
     authority of officers to spend or reallocate funds upon 
     consultation with, or the approval of, one or more 
     congressional committees. These provisions are impermissible 
     forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the 
     execution of the laws. The Congress may affect the execution 
     of the laws only by enacting a new statute in accordance with 
     the requirements of bicameralism and presentment prescribed 
     in Article I, section 7. My Administration will make 
     appropriate efforts to notify the relevant committees before 
     taking the specified actions and will accord the 
     recommendations of such committees all appropriate and 
     serious consideration, but it will not treat spending 
     decisions as dependent on prior consultation with or the 
     approval of congressional committees.
       Finally, several provisions (such as sections 3511(d)(4) 
     and 3862 (creating section

[[Page H1915]]

     744N(d)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) of 
     Division A of the Act) purport to require recommendations 
     regarding legislation to the Congress. Because Article II, 
     section 3 gives the President the authority to recommend only 
     ``such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient,'' 
     my Administration will continue the practice of treating 
     provisions like these as advisory and non-binding.
                                                     Donald J. Trump.  
                                       The White House, March 27, 2020.

  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman 
from New York (Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney), the distinguished chair of the 
Committee on Oversight and Reform.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong 
support of this resolution which establishes a new select subcommittee 
on the coronavirus within the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
  I look forward to working closely with the distinguished majority 
whip from South Carolina, Mr. Clyburn, on this very important effort.
  As the Speaker has explained, this new subcommittee is modeled 
directly after the Truman committee which saved billions of taxpayer 
dollars during World War II and helped mobilize our Nation, our 
industries, and our entire population for war.
  Harry Truman explained at the time that it was critical during this 
effort to conduct oversight, to prevent the waste of taxpayer funds, 
rather than waiting until after they were spent.
  Catching problems early and correcting them immediately saved not 
only money but lives. Today our Nation, our economy, and our people, 
face a similar mobilization effort as we engage in this war against the 
coronavirus. Microbes are killing more people than missiles.
  And let me be clear. Right now, we are only in the first battle. This 
week the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
warned that we could face a second, more deadly wave of coronavirus 
this fall. He warned that it could, ``Actually be even more difficult 
than the one we just went through.''
  But our national stockpile is nearly depleted. We need protective 
equipment, we need critical medical supplies, we need tests, and we 
need new vaccines and treatments. We need all the supplies and 
materials necessary not only to safeguard our current medical workers 
but to restore our stockpiles and to build them up, so we are ready for 
the next battle and the one after that and whatever comes next.
  This is something we all should be able to agree on. This should be a 
bipartisan effort, and I encourage all of my colleagues to come 
together, to protect the interests of the American taxpayers, and to 
promote the most efficient, effective, equitable, and transparent 
mobilization in history in response to this deadly crisis.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Burgess), my good friend and distinguished member of both 
the Rules Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  Mr. BURGESS. Madam Speaker, of course, we are all observing the 
Attending Physician's request that we stay at least 6 feet apart. And I 
appreciate the Democratic Speaker's acknowledgment that it is perhaps 
better to address the American people without a mask.
  Mr. Cole, I also want to extend my sympathies to you. I know your 
district suffered greatly last night in the storm, and certainly our 
hearts are with our near neighbors in Oklahoma.
  So our actions today represent a lost opportunity. I am grateful that 
we are going to finally pass legislation that will provide more funding 
for our small businesses and for our healthcare providers.
  We should have been preparing for the needs of the American people 
since the first of this year. Instead, the House considered 15 pieces 
of non-crucial legislation and five resolutions that do not now, nor 
ever will, have the force of law.
  Six months before this crisis started in January, President Trump 
signed into law the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, the 
product of our health subcommittee, last Congress and this Congress.
  But after this fire broke out across the globe, did we do any real-
time oversight as to whether or not the bill that we had passed, the 
bill that we had labored over, was, in fact, performing as indicated?
  The Speaker talked about real-time oversight. We had an opportunity, 
but we didn't take it.
  The Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings on flavored tobacco, 
we looked into horse racing, we looked into ticket scalping. And these 
issues have a place in our legislative agenda, but not in the middle of 
a pandemic when we should have been doing real-time oversight of a bill 
we had signed into law a mere 6 months before.
  So as the leader of the Health Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce, I 
began calling for action in January. It was not until February 26, as 
an add-on to a budget hearing for Health and Human Services where there 
was a brief panel assembled, and only 10 Members were allowed to ask 
questions of this expert panel on the emerging novel coronavirus.

                              {time}  1045

  It was a full 2 weeks later before Congress considered its first 
comprehensive bill. During consideration in the Rules Committee, I 
requested, because one hadn't been done, a survey of ventilators. We 
didn't know how many we had available.
  Now, thanks to vital steps taken by the Trump administration, to this 
date, no patient has been denied a ventilator that needed one. This is 
a testament to the administration's response. It is a testament to the 
private sector in this country that responded so well. And it certainly 
puts to shame the Democratic majority's response during January and 
  We are in the middle of working to ensure patient survival and 
keeping our economy afloat. Now is not the time to authorize yet 
another partisan committee to conduct oversight in a manner that we 
know will only be good for the next new cycle.
  Early in this crisis, we forewent an opportunity to prepare. Let us 
not make the same mistake again. Let us not continue to waste time. Let 
us do the work of the American people and get to business as usual. If 
we had been better authorizers, less oversight would be necessary.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Georgia (Mrs. McBath).
  Mrs. McBATH. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I rise to support the rule and underlying legislation to establish 
the select committee, and I also support this bill that we will be 
voting on later today.
  Small businesses are the heart of a thriving community and vital to 
the American economy, and there isn't one in Georgia or across the 
country that has not been impacted by the pandemic.
  This crisis demands we all continue our work together to ensure that 
our American families are kept safe, American small businesses are 
supported, and American workers receive the relief that they need. This 
funding is one more step on the long journey toward recovery.
  I want to take this time to offer my condolences to the victims who 
have lost their lives to this awful disease. My prayers are with those 
mourning in Georgia, across America, and around the globe.
  To our doctors, nurses, and first responders: Americans everywhere 
are looking up to your love, your sacrifice, and your uncommon courage.
  I urge a ``yes'' vote on the rule and the underlying bill.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio 
(Mr. Jordan), my good friend and a distinguished Member.
  Mr. JORDAN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Madam Speaker, eight different oversight processes are in place as we 
  We have got the Oversight Committee itself, which has the broadest 
jurisdiction of any committee in Congress to do oversight.
  We have the committees of jurisdiction, which each have a 
subcommittee that does oversight: Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, 
Small Business, and, of course, Financial Services.
  We have the CARES Act itself, which created the Oversight Commission 
in the bill itself.
  We have the CARES Act, which also created the Pandemic Response 
Accountability Committee in the bill itself. That is the fourth one.

[[Page H1916]]

  The fifth one, we have the IGs, the inspectors general from each of 
the respective agencies: Health and Human Services, Treasury.
  Sixth, we have a special inspector general created in the CARES Act.
  Seventh, we have $20 million in funding appropriated in the CARES 
Act, which created a process for auditors and experts at GAO to do 
further oversight.
  And finally, eighth, we have the FTC and DOJ, the agencies doing 
oversight and holding people accountable for the fraud that may be 
  Eight different entities doing oversight, but the Democrats want a 
ninth. Why? Eight different committees doing the work making sure that 
the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people have the proper 
oversight. But we need a ninth for what reason? The ninth is political. 
Eight committees looking out for the taxpayer, the ninth looking out 
for Joe Biden; the ninth to go after President Trump.
  This is just a continuation of the attack that the Democrats have had 
on the President for the past 4 years. It started before he was 
President when they opened the Trump Russia investigation, spied on two 
American citizens associated with the Trump campaign. It continued with 
the Mueller investigation. And then, of course, we had the ridiculous 
impeachment process based on a phone call between the President of 
Ukraine and President Trump.
  And now this. Now this, a select committee in the summer of an 
election year to attack the President when we already have eight 
different entities doing the oversight we are all supposed to do to 
look out for the taxpayer interests.
  The Democrats want a ninth because the ninth is political, and the 
ninth will be chaired by our colleague, the biggest supporter of the 
Democrats' nominee for President.
  Madam Speaker, I urge a ``no'' vote.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I include in the Record the Guidance for 
Members and Attendees provided to us by the Office of the Attending 
  While face coverings are not mandatory, they are certainly 
recommended. The Office of Attending Physician has also advised that 
``a face cover will produce a minimal reduction in sound when using a 
microphone. The face covering is likely to be most useful in preventing 
viral spread while a person is speaking.''
  So people can do whatever they want to do, but I would say, while we 
are all trying to show how fearless we are, we should be mindful of the 
people surrounding us. So until I am advised otherwise, I am going to 
keep my mask on.

                   Guidance for Members and Attendees

                        House Committee on Rules

       In order to accommodate this meeting of the House Committee 
     on Rules, the following guidelines have been developed in 
     consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician 
     (OAP), the Office of the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), and the 
     Committee on House Administration. The OAP continues to 
     recommend teleworking for all Congressional offices and that 
     Members and staff maintain 6-foot social distance spacing as 
     much as practicable when in the offices or the Capitol.
       The OAP, in conjunction with guidance from the Centers for 
     Disease Control and Prevention, recommends that all Members 
     and attendees should:
       1. Avoid congregating in groups upon arrival to the room;
       2. Use provided hand sanitizer;
       3. Apply a face cover if a face covering is not already 
     worn (a face cover will be available for those who need 
       4. Proceed directly to their seat, maintaining proper 
     distancing; and
       5. Remain seated until the conclusion of the meeting, to 
     the extent possible.
       Use of a face covering, while voluntary, is recommended for 
     this specific proceeding due to occasions when the six-foot 
     separation distance may be not be possible (Member private 
     communications with staff, document distribution if needed, 
     witness or staff movements, etc.).
       The OAP has advised that a face cover will produce a 
     minimal reduction in sound when using a microphone. The face 
     covering is likely to be most useful in preventing viral 
     spread while a person is speaking.
       Members are encouraged to attend without staff or to limit 
     themselves to a maximum of one staff person per Member if 
     necessary. Staff who do accompany their bosses are requested 
     to sit in the audience and only approach the dais if/when 
       Members and attendees should not engage in personal 
     greetings such as handshakes or embraces.
       Members and attendees are asked to respect markings present 
     on chairs to prevent their use, in accordance with social 
     distancing guidelines.
       Access restrictions to the Capitol Complex remain in place. 
     Per guidance from the SAA, House Office Buildings remain open 
     to Members, Congressional staff, and credentialed press.
       When the meeting is adjourned, departure from the room 
     should continue to respect social distancing by avoiding 
     congregating in groups near the exit doors, hallways, or 
     elevators. Members and attendees should use waterless hand 
     cleansing upon exit after removing and disposing of their 
     face covering.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution. It is sad to 
say, but this coronavirus pandemic has caused some of the greatest 
suffering in our time for individuals and for our country at large. And 
yet there are those few who would see this as an opportunity to benefit 
for themselves and their companies by price gouging or, one might say, 
pandemic profiteering.
  We have good reason to be skeptical about many of these companies, 
including the pharmaceutical industry. For example, even during this 
crisis, we saw Gilead seek and receive from the FDA 7 years of orphan 
drug exclusivity for a possible treatment for the virus. Only after 
organizations stepped in and protested did Gilead go back to the FDA to 
withdraw their request.
  Do we really need an oversight committee? Look what has happened 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield an additional 15 seconds to the 
gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Headlines such as a $55 million contract to a 
bankrupt company, who is a baker, in order to make N95 masks.
  ``Hedge Fund Managers Claiming Bailouts As Small Businesses.''
  ``Over 43,000 U.S. Millionaires Will Get `stimulus' Averaging $1.6 
Million Each.''
  Yes, we need an oversight committee, and we need it now.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Kentucky (Mr. Comer), my good friend and a distinguished gentleman.
  Mr. COMER. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Americans are suffering right now. Hospitals, families, and 
businesses are figuring out what their next step will be.
  But, instead of helping American families, Speaker Pelosi wants to 
set up a new, costly, unnecessary select committee. This is an 
outrageous attempt to yet again use Congress to smear President Trump 
in an election year, just like the impeachment charade a few months 
  I am all about oversight. We already have an Oversight Committee that 
is tasked with carrying out these very duties, and it is a very good 
committee, a quality committee made up of outstanding members from both 
sides of the aisle.
  This is yet another political game from Speaker Pelosi using tax 
dollars for political gain. Creating a new select committee is 
completely redundant. We must stop these games and, instead, focus on 
the real problems facing the American people.
  Creating an entirely new select committee is an irresponsible waste 
of time and resources that could be used elsewhere. Let's refocus on 
getting this country back on track and moving forward for the American 
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, when it comes to $2 trillion, I don't 
think there can be enough oversight. I think our constituents expect us 
to make sure that that money is being spent where it should be spent, 
where Congress intended it.
  Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. 
Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Madam Speaker, I rise to support the underlying bill, which was made 
much safer to save lives and to provide economic opportunity. But, as 
well, I rise to support the bipartisan, as it should be, oversight bill 
created by the vision of our Speaker, and I ask my colleagues to 
understand what oversight

[[Page H1917]]

is in COVID-19. It is to save lives and to make sure that we focus on 
the needs of those like the elderly in nursing homes who need to be 
tested or essential workers.
  Or we find out the underlying incompetence, if you will, of large 
companies getting money from the mom-and-pop businesses. That needs 
  Or we promote more testing, like the $25 billion that is in the 
underlying bill, and contact tracing. That is what oversight is.
  Oversight is to maintain the idea that we have responsibility for the 
budget of this Nation, but we have the responsibility for the lives of 
this Nation.
  I served as a staffer for the Select Committee on Assassinations when 
people were in dismay about the assassinations of Dr. King and John F. 
Kennedy. I will tell you that even that small committee in the House 
gave some comfort that Congress was caring about lives and about our 
  I support enthusiastically the rule and, as well, the bipartisan 
Oversight Committee. Wise people will know that Congress must continue 
to do its work in a way that saves lives and strengthens our economy.
  I ask support for this bill and the rule.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Ferguson), my good friend and the distinguished chief 
deputy whip of the Republican Conference.
  Mr. FERGUSON. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Madam Speaker, here we go again. Once again you are about to do what 
America doesn't want.
  We just came from our districts where we have been solving problems 
with our constituents, helping them through a very, very difficult 
time, working to make sure that they had funding through the PPP loan 
program, working to make sure that our hospitals had the supplies that 
they needed.
  I hoped there would be a sense of cooperation and shared stories of 
good things that were going on back in our district, despite the hard 
times. I had hoped that those commonalities from all congressional 
districts could be the shared stories that we built a new sense of 
cooperation on. But, no. You all seem to be like a bird dog pointing at 
a quail. You just can't help yourselves.
  First of all, you had Russia, then impeachment, and now the 
coronavirus. You just can't do it. And you will say--I have heard it 
already--that this will not be partisan, that this is needed work. 
Needed more than eight committees that are already out there? Well, I 
can tell you this will be partisan, being led by an individual who is 
the Democratic nominee's number one supporter.
  And I will tell you this: I am willing to bet just about everything I 
have got that this will be nothing more than a partisan hack job; and 
if it is not, I will be the first one to apologize and happy to buy the 
Speaker a pint of her favorite ice cream.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded to address their 
remarks to the Chair.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I want to remind my colleagues, one of 
our constitutional responsibilities is oversight. We just appropriated 
over $2 trillion, and I applaud the Speaker of the House for making 
sure that this Congress does its job and does proper oversight.
  I don't know about their constituents, but my constituents are 
puzzled why some of the money that was designed to go to small 
businesses ended up going to these megabusinesses like Shake Shack or 
Ruth's Chris Steak House, so they want accountability.
  Two trillion dollars, I mean, is that too much to ask? So I applaud 
the Speaker of the House for focusing us on making sure that we do our 
job, but we do oversight. This select committee is warranted, it is 
important, and I think Democrats and Republicans should overwhelmingly 
support it.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Washington (Mrs. Rodgers), my good friend and a distinguished member of 
the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  Mrs. RODGERS of Washington. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding. I appreciate his leadership.
  I rise in opposition to this select committee. Energy and Commerce 
has a long tradition of bipartisan oversight in its broad jurisdiction 
and has the tools to prevent any fraud, waste, or abuse.
  In the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, we are working 
right now, Republicans and Democrats, to make sure the FTC is 
protecting Americans from bad actors who are using the coronavirus to 
commit fraud. Our Oversight and Investigation team is working around 
the clock to stop bad actors and to track the spread of the virus 
itself, as well as the stockpiles of PPE, ventilators, and test kits 
sent to the States.
  Our Health Subcommittee is working with HHS, FDA, CDC, and NIH to 
ensure resources reach hospitals and frontline healthcare workers who 
need it most.
  The same can be said for the Small Business and Financial Services 
Committees' efforts to ensure that PPP loans are implemented 
  There is also the Ways and Means Committee oversight of the economic 
impact payments or any of a number of other committees involved in 
Congress' unprecedented bipartisan response to this crisis.

                              {time}  1100

  This select committee duplicates the existing jurisdiction of the 
Energy and Commerce Committee and others. It will erode the trust and 
effectiveness in our work that is underway during the greatest 
healthcare and economic crisis we have seen in our lifetime.
  We shouldn't create a new committee that will divide us, make this 
response partisan, create more bureaucracy in Congress, and undermine 
the hard, bipartisan work of my colleagues and staff who are doing 
their jobs on their committees already.
  Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to let 
our committees continue to do their jobs and reject this resolution.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, we are waiting for a couple of other 
speakers. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Hice), my good friend.
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
  Madam Speaker, in a very short period of time, this body has moved an 
unprecedented amount of money at an unprecedented speed, and rather 
than taking a step back now and looking at the effectiveness of what we 
have implemented so far, here we are today rushing forward, not only 
with additional funds, but also to rig up an unnecessary and 
duplicative select subcommittee for the purpose of investigating the 
President of the United States. Make no mistake. That is the purpose of 
this subcommittee.
  It is entirely political in nature, designed to influence the 2020 
elections. From the moment it is gaveled into life, there is no 
question that the mission will be to prevent the reelection of 
President Donald Trump.
  There are already eight real oversight and watchdog processes in this 
body. Eight.
  The Oversight and Reform Committee, of which I am a member, has the 
broadest jurisdiction in this body, and we have the power and the 
experience needed to oversee any Federal coronavirus response.
  So why does the Speaker want a ninth? Why are we here looking at a 
ninth oversight subcommittee, especially when the Democrats are already 
in charge of the eight that we already have? Why would the appointment 
of this new select subcommittee be a member of her own leadership team 
who has already publicly stated that this virus creates for the 
Democrats a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit their 
  That makes it clear what the purpose of this is all about: it is 
because this is an election year, it is because they hate the President 
of the United States, and because of that, I strongly encourage my 
colleagues to reject this resolution, which is intended to create an 
un-needed and duplicative committee.
  Madam Chair, I again thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 

[[Page H1918]]

  We are still waiting for a couple of additional speakers but let me 
just say one thing here again. It is hard to believe what we are 
hearing here.
  My friends on one hand are telling the American people that we all 
care deeply about oversight, we all want to make sure that the money is 
being spent properly, but yet they are opposed to this.
  It is $2 trillion that we have responded with to try to deal with the 
crisis that we are faced with. That is a lot of money. To object to a 
select committee to basically make sure that it is being spent properly 
as this thing is unfolding, my colleagues have such a difficult time 
dealing with that.
  Madam Speaker, again, I applaud the Speaker of the House for her 
leadership during this pandemic, not only on this, but on a whole range 
of other issues. She has taken what my Republican friends in the Senate 
and what the White House has proposed and made it better and made it 
more responsive to average working people.
  That is what this is about: making sure the money gets to the people 
who need it, not to the people who don't need it, not to the big 
corporations, not to the well-off or the well connected.
  So I don't understand all of the hand-wringing over this select 
committee. This is an important select committee, just like the one 
that then-Senator Truman did to make sure that the moneys that were 
appropriated went to help win the war.
  We want to win this war too.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume 
for a quick response to my friend.
  I recall that we requested oversight committees for TARP. That was 
not allowed by then-Speaker Pelosi. We requested oversight committees 
for the stimulus package in 2009. That, too, was not agreed to by 
Speaker Pelosi. So we find this new need for oversight refreshing, but 
somewhat questionable.
  Madam Speaker, I also remind my friend, there are eight existing 
committees, all of which, by the way, the Democrats control, all of 
which they chair.
  We have confidence in the eight existing committees to do their job. 
We don't see the need for a ninth.
  Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California (Mr. 
McClintock), my great friend.
  Mr. McCLINTOCK. Madam Speaker, when we passed the Paycheck Protection 
Program, I warned that serious flaws would deliver a windfall to 
businesses that did not need it at the expense of those that do. That 
is exactly what happened, exhausting the fund within days.
  Now it is imperative to replenish this program to assure that small 
businesses that desperately need these funds receive them.
  Now, this could have been done 2 weeks ago but for the Democrats' 
demands that wasted time and added costs.
  I supported the CARES Act only because I believed a better bill could 
not be produced given the current majority.
  For the same reason, I support the bill to be taken up later today, 
but with this grave warning: unprecedented and unconstitutional 
government edicts have deliberately destroyed the livelihoods of 
millions of Americans and have set in motion both an economic 
depression and government insolvencies that threaten the very survival 
of our Nation. They must end now.

  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Illinois (Mrs. Bustos).
  Mrs. BUSTOS. Madam Speaker, 4 weeks ago we passed the largest 
economic rescue in American history. Today we replenish some of its 
most important programs.
  Behind each program are real people in desperate need of our help: 
healthcare workers and hospitals in dire need of support, supplies, and 
  Small business owners agonizing amid uncertainty and boxed out of 
loans by big banks serving well-connected clients; and
  Our family farmers who continue to feed the world under unprecedented 
hardship, unable to qualify for the disaster loans afforded to others.
  Today's legislation rights these wrongs. It also harnesses the help 
of our community banks and our credit unions, but it does not go far 
  Our cities, our States need assistance now. They soon may have to lay 
off police and first responders, the very people we need on the front 
lines in this crisis.
  Our corn growers and ethanol producers deserve the same help afforded 
Big Oil. We must take care of them in this next relief package.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Gohmert), my very good friend.
  Mr. GOHMERT. Madam Speaker, I thank my friend, the gentleman from 
Oklahoma (Mr. Cole), for yielding, and I am greatly sorry for the 
losses yesterday, as well as down in Brian Babin's district.
  I heard the Speaker say we need to move in a bipartisan manner, and I 
believe she meant that. But then I can't forget that she said the same 
thing about impeachment a year ago: we can't move forward with 
impeachment unless it is bipartisan.
  So what are we doing first? We are going to have a vote to create 
another oversight committee. So apparently the answer the Democrats 
have is if you have got eight committees that aren't doing their job, 
we have the answer: another committee.
  For heaven's sake, we have got people losing their businesses, they 
are isolated.
  Humans are social animals; we like to be around other people.
  There are suicides, like in Knox County, Tennessee: they have lost 
more people to suicide than the coronavirus.
  We have got to be careful about spreading fear. We can be concerned, 
but we shouldn't be afraid.
  But another committee? For heaven's sake, that is not what we need.
  It is interesting that the answer the Democrats have to potential 
waste, fraud, and abuse is to create another wasteful committee.
  Just make the committees we have do their job of oversight, and then 
we will be all right. There needs to be oversight.
  We apparently need a committee to give oversight to the oversight 
committees, because they are not doing their job, and that is why we 
need a new one.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I am absolutely stunned over the outrage 
to sunshine and oversight. Give me a break.
  Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California (Mr. 
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
  Madam Speaker, this isn't the bill I would have written. I am 
incredibly frustrated that Senate Republicans stalled negotiations 
without offering any fixes to help get money into the hands of the 
small businesses that are hardest hit.
  Funding needs to get to legitimate small businesses quickly and 
efficiently, not to big corporations.
  Senate Republicans also rejected funding to help support State and 
local governments that are on the tip of the spear in fighting this 
  With your help, Madam Speaker, we did get some improvements in this 
bill, such as additional funding for hospitals and testing to help 
respond to this crisis so we can eventually reopen our country, and 
improvements to the PPP and the EIDL program, which were crucial.
  Times are uncertain and people in my district are hurting. They need 
relief now.
  I will support this bill, but I look forward to future packages to 
get the needed relief to our communities that need it the most.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Bass).
  Ms. BASS. Madam Speaker, a few days after the last bill became law, 
stories began to surface of an extreme disproportionate death rate 
among African Americans in several cities, with a 70 percent death 
rate, while African Americans are only 20 to 30 percent of the 
  Some cite underlying health conditions as the reason for the extreme 
disproportionate death rate, as though this is a reason that nothing 
can be

[[Page H1919]]

done, as though we have to just accept this for now.
  This bill begins the process of addressing the disproportionate death 
rate, but oversight and advocacy from Congress and the public will 
still be needed.
  The bill calls for a report to be issued in 21 days, where we should 
have a better picture of what is happening and, hopefully, provide a 
  The bill calls for reporting data on demographics including race, on 
the number and rates of cases, hospitalization, and deaths from COVID.
  When the report is made public, it will be clear that communities 
with large African American populations will require focused and 
concentrated testing with rapid results, that contact tracing and early 
and aggressive treatment will be required, and that hospitals 
should reevaluate how they make decisions regarding who has access to 

  Using formulas that decide based on who they believe has a better 
chance of survival will undoubtedly hurt African Americans and 
contribute to the disproportionate death rate.
  When we gather again to pass another bill, we must include targeted 
resources that support aggressive interventions.
  It is just not acceptable for the richest country in the history of 
the world to allow different populations to suffer like they don't even 
live in the United States but live in countries without the resources 
to protect its population.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
the Virgin Islands (Ms. Plaskett).
  Ms. PLASKETT. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding the 
  Madam Speaker, I join my colleagues in support of this rule. It will 
continue urgent support for our small businesses, hospitals, and 
healthcare providers on the front line.
  Madam Speaker, I want to commend the House leadership for ensuring 
that this agreement, which includes the agreement that we will pass 
later on today, includes $120 million more in small business relief 
that the Senate initially wanted to provide.
  I am pleased to see that we will include SBA disaster loan programs 
and other provisions for extra support for small businesses.
  The dynamic work of the members of the House leadership have been 
hard fought for those forgotten, and I have a great concern that 
without the select committee, the implementation of the incredible work 
will not be done.
  Reporting requirements holding this administration to task are 
important for those that have been forgotten, for people like those in 
the Virgin Islands and for those who have been disproportionately 
affected by this law.
  Madam Speaker, I urge adoption of the rule.

                              {time}  1115

  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I am happy to yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Massachusetts (Ms. Clark), my good friend.
  Ms. CLARK of Massachusetts. Madam Speaker, with the Second World War 
raging, Eleanor Roosevelt noted that: ``When all is said and done, and 
the statesmen discuss the future of the world, the fact remains that 
people fight these wars.''
  The war on the pandemic is being waged in our crowded hospitals, our 
empty classrooms, and our closed businesses. Today's bill will bring 
Americans desperately needed relief, and I am deeply grateful for the 
victories that Democrats secured.
  But the pandemic has exposed the deep income, racial, and health 
disparities as it cuts a lethal path through our communities. And it 
has exposed the callous and deadly indifference of the protectors of 
the wealthy and the connected all too willing to sacrifice our 
neighbors for the bottom line.
  But in this House, the people's House, we know that our strength and 
our recovery as a nation rests in the health and prosperity of all 
Americans, and we will fight with everything we have for the people.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Ohio (Ms. Fudge).
  Ms. FUDGE. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Madam Speaker, I wonder when this administration will treat all of 
its citizens with the same concern. Yes, our small businesses need 
additional support and our hospitals, too, but big banks should not 
have access to any more money because they have really already taken 
care of all of their friends.
  I am happy our farmers are being helped, but what about hungry 
people? The USDA has decided to buy meat and produce, put it in a box, 
and send it to the unemployed through food banks. Why not just increase 
SNAP benefits as we have requested?
  When is the right time to fight for teachers and sanitation workers, 
police, fire, and EMS?
  When do we ensure prisoners are safe and are afforded appropriate 
  When do we provide nursing homes with adequate resources?
  When do we guarantee every child has access to distance learning?
  When is it the right time to fight for those who can't afford to pay 
2 or 3 months' rent at once?
  Most Americans don't have the luxury of waiting for us to pick and 
choose who gets help. We keep saying it will be in the next bill. Our 
people need it now.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Lee).
  Ms. LEE of California. Madam Speaker, first of all, let me just say I 
rise in support of this package. I want to thank the Speaker; our 
leadership committee chair; members of the Congressional Black Caucus, 
including Chairwoman Bass; Chairwoman Kelly, chair of the Health 
Braintrust; and all of the Members and staff who are working together 
on the health provisions of this bill.
  Also, let me just take this moment to thank our essential workers for 
their sacrifices during this horrific pandemic.
  Evidence has piled up that Black and Brown people are bearing some of 
the worst burdens of COVID. This bill requires, as Chairwoman Bass 
said, the CDC to get us the data on which communities are bearing the 
worst brunt and then to make sure that testing is focused on these 
  But let me just say, we have much more work to do. Too many people 
were trapped in poverty before this crisis, and now more people have 
been pushed into the ranks of the poor because of COVID. People are 
lining up in front of food banks.
  We need to increase SNAP funding, support the State and local 
government workers who are on the front lines of this crisis, protect 
our elections, and help people who are falling through the cracks and 
living on the edge. We have a moral and we have a patriotic duty to do 
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Madam Speaker, I want to begin by thanking my friend and the Rules 
Committee as a committee and the staff. We met last night. Obviously, 
we are all meeting now at an extraordinary time, a very difficult time.
  I was very proud of our committee last night, particularly our 
chairman and our staff for reopening and functioning and producing a 
contentious item, but a worthy item, to discuss here today. So thank 
you to Mr. Chairman for his leadership, and I thank our staff and thank 
our fellow members of the committee.
  And I want to thank the body, including the Speaker. We are here 
today functioning. Obviously, we are taking precautions. Obviously, we 
are doing things differently. We are a little bit out of our comfort 
zone as a body. This isn't the way we normally work. But the point is 
we are here in Washington, D.C., and we are working.
  While we disagree very strongly over this particular piece of 
legislation, later today we will vote in overwhelming bipartisan 
numbers for another relief package, Madam Speaker, for the American 
  That is the fourth time in a row that we have done it, and we have 
done it without partisanship. That doesn't mean there wasn't hard 
bargaining. It doesn't mean that everybody got everything they wanted 
in the package.

[[Page H1920]]

Quite the opposite. Everybody gave up some things that they wanted. But 
at the end of the day, we did come together.
  Now, personally, I wish we would have put money earlier in the 
Paycheck Protection Program, but I certainly don't begrudge the 
additional money for hospitals and testing. So, hopefully, we can avoid 
that and keep programs that are working going, fine-tune them where we 

  There are certainly some changes that could be made. But I think, on 
balance, we ought to look back and say, at a time of great crisis, 
Congress has continued to function and has come together in a 
bipartisan manner and has done important work on behalf of the American 
  We have a lot more important work to do. There are many, many 
challenges that are going to confront us. Secretary Mnuchin sometimes 
calls the response to coronavirus a baseball game with nine innings. 
And I suspect that we are completing the fourth inning today, Madam 
Speaker, with the ultimate passage of the additional resources for the 
  Again, while we disagree on this one--I want to talk about that in a 
second--we agree on the most important act of the day, which is getting 
relief out the door to the American people and sustaining our economy 
under a time of great stress, helping our healthcare workers who are on 
the front line, trying to make sure we have the robust testing that is 
necessary so our Governors can make good decisions when they grapple 
with the tough issue of how they are to reopen their respective States.
  We think, Madam Speaker, the particular item we are considering this 
morning is simply unnecessary. We have eight oversight committees, all 
of which, I remind my friends, they control. They are the majority in 
this body. That is appropriate. They are their oversight committees.
  Creating another one we just think is, at a minimum, superfluous; 
and, frankly, history has taught us it is more apt to be a weapon, in 
our view, used to attack the President of the United States 
relentlessly during an election year. I would love to be wrong about 
that. As my friend Mr. Ferguson said he would be the first to 
apologize, I will be happy to apologize, too, if I am wrong.
  But, even if that were not the case, I would question the need for an 
additional committee. I simply don't see any need for that. We have 
committees that do this. We have committees that have a lot of 
experience in doing this. And, frankly, we have committees that have 
done it in a pretty bipartisan way in the past. So I would hope we 
would rely on those committees.
  With that, Madam Speaker, I again thank my friend for the debate and 
thank his side for the spirited participation, but I urge rejection of 
this particular measure, and I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the 
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Madam Speaker, I want to thank my friend, Mr. Cole--and he is my 
friend. I appreciate all of his counsel and advice in the Rules 
Committee, and I appreciate his respect for this institution.
  I want to thank the distinguished Speaker of this House for her 
leadership. This is a moment in history that demands strong leadership, 
and she has risen to the occasion, and I applaud her and I appreciate 
  I also want to thank all of those who work on the Hill here: the 
Capitol Police, the Sergeant at Arms, the attending physician, the 
chief administrative officer, and all of the people who maintain this 
incredible building. I want to thank them. They protect us and they do 
an unbelievable job.
  Madam Speaker, I want to remind people that more than 855,000 cases 
of coronavirus have been confirmed. Nearly 48,000 lives have been lost 
as of today, more than 22 million initial unemployment claims filed in 
the past month. Families will be changed forever. We are in a crisis, 
and we should be proud that we have come together repeatedly in a 
bipartisan way to move legislation forward to respond to that crisis.
  Now, over $2 trillion we have approved to try to help our 
constituents, protect them, and help protect small businesses, but that 
is just part of our job. Our job is not just to appropriate the money 
and just hope it goes to wherever it is supposed to go. We need to do 
the oversight. We need to make sure that every single penny that we 
have appropriated goes to where it needs to go.
  I don't want to be here a year from now looking back and saying: Oh, 
look at all of the waste and all of the abuse. Look at all of the well-
connected people who benefited, but look at all the people who needed 
the funds who didn't.
  We need to get this right. That is what this select committee is 
about. This should not be controversial.
  Again, I am stunned by the resistance to sunshine and transparency. 
That is what this is about, and I hope and pray that everything goes 
perfectly. But we cannot take that chance. We have to make sure we live 
up to our constitutional responsibility.
  So I urge my colleagues to vote for this rule so that we can 
establish this select committee.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the 
previous question on the resolution.
  The previous question was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the resolution.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. COLE. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.