Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for oversight hearings over what he called President Trump’s “abject failure” at implementing coronavirus relief.
Appearing on MSNBC, Schumer said “This administration has been an abject failure at implementing most of these laws.”
Schumer then released the following:
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today released the following statement urging Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans to immediately commence oversight hearings of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic:
“Now that Leader McConnell has decided the Senate will reconvene next week, he should instruct his Committee Chairs to immediately begin vigorous and desperately needed oversight of the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implementation of the CARES Act.
“There must be public Senate hearings, at a minimum, to examine why the United States still does not have adequate testing and why some lenders in the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program have prioritized the applications of their larger and wealthier clients to the detriment of smaller businesses that have oftentimes suffered greater hardship.”
Per TheHill, Schumer announced that he and other Senate Democrats will send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) demanding Senate oversight hearings for the first four coronavirus relief bills passed by Congress, including the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.
“What we should do now that we’re coming back next week is have hearings, oversight. Haul in Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, Azar, and say ‘Why isn’t testing working?’” he said, referring to Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, two senior health advisers to President Trump, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Schumer said the administration’s plan for implementing more widespread testing “had almost no details as to how it’s going to work.”
“Why don’t we need a national regime to make sure that the manufacturing and supplies chains work?” he added.
The Democratic leader also called for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza to testify about reports that big businesses such as the Los Angeles Lakers, a basketball franchise with an estimated value of $4.4 billion, received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that were supposed to go to small businesses.
“Why after 30 days — we passed the first COVID bill 30 days [ago] — are computers breaking down? Where was the extra support? Where are the personnel?” he said.
“We could have oversight hearings, and I hope Leader McConnell will do that,” he said.
McConnell has informed colleagues they will reconvene in Washington the week of May 4 and said he plans to vote on nominations.
Schumer made his comments shortly after Mnuchin acknowledged some problems with the implementation of the small-business lending program on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”