House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced a new select committee to oversee how the Trump administration spends more than $2 trillion allocated to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The bipartisan Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis will be chaired by House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, she said.
Comparing the new panel to one chaired by then-Sen. Harry Truman during World War II to oversee war spending, Pelosi said the new oversight panel will similarly prevent “waste, fraud and abuse” in a time of national emergency.
“What made sense then makes even more sense now,” she said, adding that its bi-partisan members will “protect against price-gouging, profiteering and political favoritism.”
The announcement came after President Donald Trump attacked state governors critical of the slow pace of federal assistance as “complainers.”
“Massive amounts of medical supplies, even hospitals and medical centers, are being delivered directly to states and hospitals by the Federal Government,” Trump said in a tweet. “Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?),” he wrote, adding, “The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.”
Democratic governors including Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Andrew Cuomo of New York, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Jay Inslee of Washington state have publicly taken the federal government to task over delays in its response.
Elsewhere around the country, Cuomo said the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose overnight to nearly 93,000, with the most worrisome increases coming in suburban Long Island.
Affluent Suffolk County saw a spike of 1,141 new cases in the preceding 24 hours, while Nassau County cases rose by 1,000.
“That is troubling news,” Cuomo said, adding that it shows the outbreak isn’t strictly an urban problem in New York or around the country.
“It’s suburban areas. That’s Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk … In many ways New York state is a microcosm of the United States,” he said.
In Florida, all the passengers of two coronavirus-stricken cruise ships will be allowed to disembark at a port near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., officials announced Thursday.
Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine said in a Tweet that a group of federal, state and local authorities reached conditional approval of a plan by ship owner Carnival Corp. for the passengers to disembark after being stranded in international waters for weeks.
“Final document will be released this morning,” Udine wrote. “As of now, ships remain outside US Waters. Look forward to seeing a SAFE plan for all to resolve.”
Holland America’s Zaandam and Rotterdam are carrying 1,200 passengers between them. A total of nine on board have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 200 have reported flu-like symptoms.
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