US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks with reporters during her weekly press conference at the US Capitol March 26, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Alex Edelman | AFP | Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced a new House select committee to oversee the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
On a conference call with reporters, the California Democrat said House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., will lead the panel. Pelosi said the committee, which will include Democrats and Republicans, will oversee the Trump administration’s handling of the $2 trillion relief package passed last week and the government’s ongoing response to the crisis.
“We face a deadly virus and a battered economy with millions of Americans suddenly out of work,” Pelosi said. “Congress has taken an important step in leading this crisis by passing three bills with over $2 trillion in emergency relief. We need to ensure those dollars are spent carefully and effectively.”
The speaker said the committee “will root out waste, fraud and abuse” and “protect against price-gouging, profiteering and political favoritism.” It will also try to ensure the U.S. response to the outbreak is “based on the best possible science” and the advice of leading health experts, Pelosi said.
Spokespeople for the White House and Treasury Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests to comment on the committee’s formation.
Pelosi announced the panel’s creation on a day the Labor Department reported that a staggering 6.6 million people filed unemployment claims last week as the outbreak ravages the economy. It brings the two-week total to about 10 million, an unprecedented figure as business grinds to a halt to slow COVID-19’s spread around the country.
The U.S. has more than 216,000 cases of the disease, the most in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 5,137 deaths have been linked to COVID-19 nationwide.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.