House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said the newly-formed House panel set up to oversee the federal coronavirus response will not focus on President Trump’s handling of the crisis, pledging it will simply oversee the distribution of the $2.2 trillion relief package.
“My understanding is that this committee will be forward looking, we are not going to be looking back on what the president may or may not have done back before this crisis hit. The crisis is with us,” the South Carolina Democrat said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that Clyburn would lead a bipartisan team focused on “the here and now” of the crisis.
Pelosi said the panel was tasked with specifically assuring that “taxpayer dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief and benefit our economy.”
In response to the committee launch, President Trump said during a White House coronavirus briefing that “this is not the time for politics,” in a slight at the panel.
“Endless partisan investigations have already done extraordinary damage to our country in recent years,” the commander-in-chief said Thursday, the same day the panel was announced.
“It’s witch hunt, after witch hunt, after witch hunt. It’s not any time for witch hunts, it’s time to get this enemy defeated. Conducting these partisan investigations in the middle of a pandemic is a really big waste of vital resources, time, attention, and we want to fight for American lives, not waste time and build up my poll numbers. Because that’s all they’re doing because everyone knows it’s ridiculous,” he continued.
Clyburn, however, rejected the idea that the probe would be partisan.
“The American people are now out of work. Millions of them out of work. The question is whether or not the money that’s appropriated will go to support them and their families or whether or not this money will end up in the pockets of a few profiteers,” he told CNN.