Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin will help lead House Democrats’ oversight of the Trump administration’s spending of COVID-19 relief aid.
The Maryland lawmaker was among six Democrats tapped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday to serve on the new panel under Chairman James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
“We know that, from its beginning, the Trump Administration has sought to reject Congressional oversight of the President’s actions, but that habit of defiance of law will not be tolerated as we work to guarantee that every dollar appropriated goes to its intended public purpose,” Raskin said in a statement.
Pelosi touted Raskin’s background as a constitutional scholar as she announced his appointment. The other Democratic members are Reps. Maxine Waters of California, Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velázquez of New York, Bill Foster of Illinois and Andy Kim of New Jersey.
Raskin, a second-term congressman, already has several influential positions in the House. He’s chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and he serves on the House Rules and House Judiciary committees. He played a lead role in the House impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
Raskin said that the appointment was unexpected, “but I embrace it and I thank Speaker Pelosi for her confidence. She has given me the chance to help Congress and the American people make sense of this nightmare that has befallen our nation.”
Pelosi announced the formation of the new bipartisan select committee earlier this month, pointing to the work of an oversight committee led by then-Sen. Harry Truman (D-Mo.) in March 1941, during World War II.
House lawmakers voted last week to approve the new oversight committee, despite Republicans’ criticism. Maryland’s House delegation split along party lines to approve the new panel; the Democrats all voted for the committee, while Republican Rep. Andrew P. Harris voted against it.
House Republicans called the new panel unnecessary because Congress has oversight committees already in place and the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill included additional oversight provisions. That bill installed a new inspector general and set up a new committee to oversee the stimulus funds.
Pelosi said on Wednesday that the new panel will be able to better focus on the coronavirus relief and will work in tandem with existing oversight committees. And she said she hopes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will soon name GOP members to the select committee. “We want it to be as nonpartisan as possible,” she said.