Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, joined Sen. Gary Peters , D-Michigan, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and his HSGAC Democratic colleagues to urge Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, to convene an oversight hearing to examine the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is the Senate’s primary oversight committee, with broad jurisdiction over federal government operations generally, and specifically the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Despite this responsibility, the committee has not convened an oversight hearing on the nation’s pandemic response efforts since a national emergency was declared. To date, more than 90,000 Americans have lost their lives in this pandemic and nearly 36 million Americans are unemployed.
“A thorough and rigorous examination of the federal government’s response to date will help Congress ensure that successful programs can be amplified and ongoing challenges can be addressed,” wrote the senators. “These efforts are critical to supporting our nation’s pandemic response, but they can only be accomplished by convening a public hearing with the federal government officials responsible for managing the COVID-19 response. This hearing is overdue, and we urge you to schedule and convene a hearing as soon as possible to fulfill our oversight duties and get the American people the answers they deserve.”
The federal government’s pandemic response has been hindered by shortages of personal protective equipment and other medical and testing supplies that would help reduce spread of the virus, as well as challenges getting desperately-needed supplies to communities with surging coronavirus cases. In their letter, the senators called for a comprehensive oversight hearing with key federal officials in charge of response efforts, including FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir, White House Coronavirus Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force lead Navy Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield.
The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/36mfAOq.