FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Austin Hacker
WASHINGTON–House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) delivered remarks today at the National Press Club’s Headliners Newsmaker to discuss how under Republican control, he is returning the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to its primary mission to root out waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the federal government and hold the Biden Administration accountable.
CLICK HERE to watch Chairman Comer’s remarks.
Below are key excerpts from Chairman Comer’s remarks as delivered.
“I am honored to be the Chair of the House Oversight Committee. I believe with all my heart that we have a duty to have the backs of the American taxpayer. That is something that has been left out of the mix over the last several years in Congress.”
“I want to be transparent with the media in everything that we’re doing. I believe that the Committee needs to get back to its primary mission to root out waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the federal government.
“That’s why we’re going to have our first hearing this week on pandemic spending. There have been reports of hundreds of billions of dollars of potential waste in stimulus spending, PPP loan funds, and pandemic dollars.
“That dates back three years, and that covers two Administrations. Unfortunately, over the past two years, there hasn’t been a single hearing in the Oversight Committee dealing with the pandemic spending, even though we spent record amounts of money. That is very concerning.
“We are two years behind in Oversight, so we’re going to have to go back to years to get caught up, in addition to providing current oversight and future oversight.
“We are going to be very concerned about COVID spending, we’re concerned about the border crisis, we’re concerned about the energy crisis.”
“The Oversight Committee is also going to serve as the lead investigatory committee. This administration needs checks and balances – any administration needs checks and balances. A successful check and balance in Congress is not just the House Oversight Committee, but it’s also the media. I think that we can work together to provide meaningful checks and balances to this administration.”
“Democrats were in the majority of the House Oversight Committee for four years. Two years of the Trump Administration, and two years during the Biden Administration. During the last two years of the Trump Administration, there were 39 cabinet secretaries or undersecretaries that came before the House Oversight Committee in the Trump Administration.
“Going back to the first two years of the Biden Administration, there have been zero cabinet secretaries or undersecretaries in front of the House Oversight Committee. Zero. Not a single one.
“That is unacceptable and we need to hear from the cabinet secretaries. We have a border crisis, we have a spending crisis in America, we have an energy crisis in America. We are going to change that. Hopefully the media will demand that this administration be transparent with Congressional oversight.
“My maternal grandfather’s name was Kenneth Witcher, and he was a state representative in Tennessee. He loved Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, but he was very close with Howard Baker. If you study history and remember the Watergate hearings, you know who Howard Baker was.
“Howard Baker was a Republican that asked the question during the hearings, ‘What did the President know and when did he know it?’
“[My grandfather] told me a story about Howard Baker coming back to Tennessee to his rural, very Republican state House district after the Watergate hearing. The Republican base was very upset with him. They thought he was hard on Nixon.
“They voiced their opinion. They said, ‘We don’t think President Nixon ordered that break in.’ Howard Baker was calm and he listened to everybody, and then he answered, ‘Well he may not have ordered it, but he certainly lied about it, and tried to cover it up.’
“That’s something that we should never see happen with a commander-in-chief in our nation. That is something that has always stuck with me.”