Today, Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC), House Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-LA), Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY), and Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) blasted Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for dodging congressional oversight conducted in public to instead meet with Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) in secret to discuss pandemic rental assistance relief.
“Over the last several months, the Treasury Department has struggled to administer key relief programs critical to the country’s economic recovery. During that same period, you avoided a series of opportunities to testify before congressional committees of jurisdiction and answer questions, in public. What initially appeared to be an effort to avoid answering difficult questions from Republicans and Democrats alike now appears to be something more cynical in light of yesterday morning’s private meeting with a House Democrat. In fact, your closed-door meeting to discuss the Department’s emergency rental assistance program occurred during a public hearing on that very topic,”wrote the Republican lawmakers.
House Democrats have undermined congressional oversight of the Treasury Department by waiving a series of statutorily mandated appearances and refusing to invite Secretary Yellen to hearings about programs administered by the Treasury Department that affect renters, workers, and small businesses. Secretary Yellen failed to testify on the Paycheck Protection Program and skipped providing quarterly testimony as required by law. House Democrats also failed to invite her to hearings on housing and emergency rental assistance relief.
The Republican lawmakers concluded,“Our constituents expect answers—they do not benefit whatsoever from partisan, closed door meetings. By foregoing a series of opportunities to testify and highlight the urgent need for those key partners to disburse emergency rental assistance funds, you have failed to do your part. We fully expect you will appear before our committees going forward, in compliance with your statutory obligations and as necessary to help our constituents understand the status of the many Treasury Department programs they are counting on.”