It’s been months, and the Trump administration has completely failed to inspire any kind of large-scale confidence in its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Almost 58,000 Americans and counting have died from the disease while President Donald Trump and his allies have spent much of their time winding themselves up into a rage at their political opponents rather than focusing on implementing relief for struggling Americans. This week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) revealed that Senate Democrats would be demanding presumably public oversight hearings on the administration’s “abject failure” to implement effective Coronavirus relief, including financial support legislation that Congress itself has passed.
Schumer explained during an appearance on MSNBC:
‘This administration has been an abject failure at implementing most of these laws. All too often it seems the president’s ego is at stake… What we should do now that we’re coming back next week is have hearings, oversight. Haul in Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, Azar, and say “Why isn’t testing working?”‘
Coronavirus testing is a crucial component of effective handling of the disease, because it allows authorities to track and work to contain the virus before it reaches even further widespread outbreak proportions. There’s still a significant gap in the testing capability in the U.S., and any gaps in testing capacity would need to be addressed in order to actually safely reopen the economy after the virus-induced social distancing measures, as Trump has sought.
Schumer posed the pointed questions:
‘Why don’t we need a national regime to make sure that the manufacturing and supplies chains work? Why after 30 days — we passed the first COVID bill 30 days ago — are computers breaking down? Where was the extra support? Where are the personnel? We could have oversight hearings, and I hope Leader McConnell will do that… The executive branch has failed miserably implementing almost all the things Congress has passed. I’ve never seen an administration so bad at enacting the laws that Congress has put together.’
Issues with the implementation of relief legislation include the money from a loan program meant for small businesses that’s gone to big companies like Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Potbelly Sandwiches. The Los Angeles Lakers even got a “small business” loan — but after scrutiny, all four of those organizations are returning their loan money.
As the minority party in the Senate, it’s unclear how successful that Democrats’ attempts to secure Coronavirus response oversight will actually be. For now, the Senate is slated to reconvene during this coming week, when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated that he plans to bring some of the president’s nominations up for a vote. The House was also set to reconvene the week of May 4 (this coming week), but leadership abruptly announced this week that they would be delaying their own return after consulting with the House physician.
JUST IN: House Majority Leader Hoyer announces the US House will not be returning on May 4, as initially planned.
After speaking with the House physician on Monday, “we made a judgment that we will not come back next week,” Hoyer says. https://t.co/x1Q4G5Sege
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 28, 2020
Other Congressional Democrats besides Schumer have already worked to enact oversight of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus response. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has even proposed a 9/11-style investigative commission for the wake of the virus crisis.