WASHINGTON D.C. – President Donald Trump signed the $484 billion stimulus package on Friday, which will grant billions of dollars to small businesses, hospitals, and more testing.
The measure passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support. On Thursday, the House voted to create a “select committee” to oversee federal preparedness and response to the coronavirus. The resolution passed completely along party lines, with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans, and the one independent, voting against. GOP members accused Democrats of playing a political game to cast blame on the president’s handling of the outbreak.
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But Democrats, like Burbank Representative Adam Schiff, said, it’s simply a way to “root out” problems. Schiff was on the Hill Thursday, not only to vote on the two House measures but also to testify in front of a committee about his concerns for the coronavirus response, specifically for California. He is raising concerns about how PPPLoans were allocated to the golden state.
The Wall Street Journal Analysis says California only received about 58 loans per 1,000 small businesses, the fewest of any state, where the highest received 339 loans per 1,000 small businesses.
Chairman Schiff, along with his Senator colleagues Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, said they just want to understand why California received a disproportionate amount of PPPLoans, adding they understand there could be an explanation, but that they just want to know what it is.
“[The select-committee] to oversee those expenditures and find out, get answers to questions about why California is getting so little of this small business funding,” Schiff said.
Schiff said this is exactly why there should be several committees dedicated to reviewing the coronavirus outbreak.
“Something I raised with the Small Business Committee as well, is that a lot of small business customers of large banks are having trouble getting funding in this program because these large banks are prioritizing their more lucrative customers,” Schiff said. “That was not also the plan and there are some large businesses that are getting the help that they don’t need right now and so there really needs to be programmatic changes as well very strong oversight of this expenditure.”
Republicans, like Bakersfield Representative and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are calling the new committee “redundant” and unfair.
“You see this committee will be the only committee weighted politically,” McCarthy said. "There will be seven Democrats and five Republicans. This committee was announced before they even told you what this committee should do.”
McCarthy said the select committee is partisan and said he doesn’t plan to name any GOP members to the committee until he sees who Pelosi appoints. Spectrum News fact checked that there are many select committees that are weighted in favor of the majority party, including congressional committees like the House Oversight and Intelligence committee. Also, in 2014, Congress created the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi 2012 which consisted of seven GOP members and five Democrats.
Thursday’s vote marked the first time in four weeks that House members met at the Capitol. Several Southern California Democrats, like Katie Porter, said it is absurd members have to travel and gather in the chambers, which she said puts their lives, their families, and communities at risk.