(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Thursday "the formation of a bipartisan committee to be chaired by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn."
The Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, as it will be called, will make sure that emergency relief money appropriated by Congress in three bills (so far) is "spent carefully and effectively," Pelosi said:
In the coming months, over $2 trillion will be spent on this rescue effort. We have no higher priority than to make sure those moneys gets to those working families struggling to pay rent, put food on the table, who need it most.
That is why the House will be creating a special, bipartisan oversight panel, to ensure that the $2 trillion that Congress has dedicated to this battle -- and any additional funds Congress provides in future legislation are spent wisely and effectively.
The panel will weed out waste, fraud and abuse and protect against price gouging, profiteering, and political favoritism. It will press to ensure that the federal response is based on the best possible science and guided by the nation's best health experts.
The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus will be bipartisan and have an expert staff. The committee will be empowered to examine all aspects of the federal response of coronavirus and to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief, and benefit our economy.
Pelosi, invoking President Harry Truman, said, "We should be acting before the fact to prevent fraud and abuse."
She said this is not just about examining the disbursement of federal funds -- it's also about how the private sector handles the funds they receive as well.
In response to a question, Pelosi said the select committee will ensure "transparency" and "accountability."
"We want to make sure there are not...exploiters out there."
She said the select committee would have subpoena power, but added it will not pursue "an investigation of the administration." That will come later, she indicated, in an "after-action review," or a 9/11-style commission.
Pelosi on Thursday noted that she was a member of the 9/11 Commission as well as an author of the bill creating it. "So I am a big supporter of after-action review," she said.
Such a committee would have to be "bipartisan," she said.
"And again, anything that affects this many people in our country, their health, and affects our economy in such a major way, involves the allocation of so many trillions of dollars, we really do have to subject to an after-action review. Not to point fingers, but to make sure that it doesn't happen again in the manner in which it happened."
Pelosi said the select committee "is about the here and now," while the after-action investigation would be about "lessons learned."