Senate Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee penned a letter to Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) on Tuesday, imploring the senator to convene a hearing to examine the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plea came just one day before the panel is scheduled to vote on issuing a subpoena related to Republicans’ investigation of Hunter Biden.
Committee Democrats contend that the panel should be concentrating its efforts on analyzing the actions taken by the federal government in response to the novel coronavirus. They want to identify and ameliorate failures in the federal protocol, which can only be accomplished by conducting hearings.
“In the face of this crisis, our federal government’s response has so far come up short. Although we are ramping up tasting capacity, that effort came far too late to be able to successfully contain the virus, and many individuals who need to be tested are still unable to access those tests,” Committee Democrats wrote. “One of Congress’s most important responsibilities is to conduct oversight of the federal government, addressing problems and finding solutions to serve our constituents. However, we cannot do this without access to accurate data and testimony from individuals that are spearheading our response to this pandemic. As the Senate’s designated oversight committee, we should be leading these efforts – starting with the oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which the President designated as the lead federal agency for COVID-19 response.”
The Committee on Wednesday will vote on whether to issue a subpoena to Washington-based consulting firm Blue Star Strategies, LLC, over a purported scheme to influence the U.S. State Department during the Obama administration.
In a March letter to his colleagues on the panel, Johnson wrote that the government had obtained “records indicating that Blue Star sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s role as a board member of Burisma to gain access to, and potentially influence matters at, the State Department.”
Although Democrats’ letter did not explicitly mention the Hunter Biden investigation, it echoes the party’s criticisms that the GOP should not be prioritizing an already protracted investigation into the son of the presumptive Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden.
“We’re in the middle of a public health and economic crisis, but instead of holding oversight hearings about testing, PPE, or bringing in the FEMA administrator, Senate Republicans are choosing to pursue diversionary, partisan conspiracy theories to prop up President Trump,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said last week of the decision vote on the subpoena during the pandemic.
See the full letter here.
[image via YouTube screengrab]
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