The speaker told reporters on a conference call that the committee’s immediate focus will be on “the here and now,” not the Trump administration’s initial response to the pandemic, though she said there will come a time when such a review will be appropriate.
She said the committee will “have an expert staff and the committee will be empowered to examine all aspects of the federal response to coronavirus and to ensure that the taxpayers dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief, and benefit our economy.”
Pelosi said the committee will be able to exercise oversight and would have the authority to issue subpoenas.
“It’s no use having a committee unless you have subpoena power,” she said.
“We would hope there would be cooperation,” she added. “We want to make sure there are not exploiters out there.”
When asked if she would support a commission to investigate what unfolded in the onset of the crisis, the speaker said she is “a big supporter of after-action review,” and there is “absolutely” a need for one in this case.
She said it’s “something that we should discuss” and it would have to be bipartisan. Anything that affects this many Americans, she added, needs an after-action review — “not to point fingers, but to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the manner in which it happened.”
“Right now, we just have to work together to get through this. But as we do, we don’t want to make more mistakes,” she said.
The legislation stands as the largest emergency aid package in US history and represents a massive financial injection into a struggling economy with provisions aimed at helping American workers, small businesses and industries grappling with the economic disruption.