Republican congressmen complained on Wednesday that the first deed by the recently established Democrat-led House Select Coronavirus Subcommittee was to “beat up” on blue-collar workers rather than China’s contribution to the spread of the lethal virus across the world.
Communist China is the birthplace of the illness associated with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) that is plaguing the world.
The very first action, though, of this subcommittee was not to help people get back to work. In fact, the very first action of this subcommittee was to attack hard-working, blue-collar Americans.
Attacking blue-collar workers is not what we should be doing. We should be helping workers in America get back to work. We really should be holding China accountable for what they did, and unfortunately, that is not happening. That’s not what’s going on with this committee, and that’s a real concern, Mr. Chairman.
None of the Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus refuted the Republican assertions. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the chairman of the subcommittee, defended his decision not to focus on China.
Republicans also lambasted the leaders of the “bipartisan” panel for not letting them call any witnesses to testify on Wednesday.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the ranking member of the full House Oversight and Reform Committee, blasted the panel as a partisan “political” ploy “designed to go after the president.”
Congressman Scalise acknowledged that all seven Democrats on the subcommittee sent a letter “harassing” companies that employ blue-collar workers across the country.
The Democrats demanded that they return the money they received from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a cornerstone of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
On May 8, Democrats on the panel gloated about sending the same letter to several companies, arguing that they were “large, public corporations” that must “immediately return taxpayer funds that Congress intended for small businesses struggling to survive during the coronavirus crisis.”
Jordan said Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) pushed back on their Democrat colleagues sending one of the letters to a company that employs people in their states — Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc.
The Ohio Republican was outraged that the first act of the subcommittee was to “beat up” on blue-collar workers, rather than China.
Scalise noted that the companies that received the letters “did everything that they were told to do.”
“They were told to keep the workers on the payroll and that PPP was there to help those very companies. And in fact, every member of the committee that signed the letter harassing those companies voted for the [CARES] bill,” he said.
The letters targeted some companies that employ steelworkers, truck drivers, and welders.
“These are the very people we were trying to help, and in fact, they’re right now living in fear because … if [their employers] had to return the money today after they followed all the rules that we all voted for, they would have to lay off hundreds of workers each,” Scalise said.
Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) also criticized the House panel’s first move.
“Instead of attacking American businesses by further taking the PPP loans, we should be looking at China,” Green declared. “Their role in this. From day one, China’s lies and deceptions have severely hampered the global response.”
There are already eight mechanisms within Congress to conduct oversight of the bills passed to combat the coronavirus and the crisis caused by the disease, Jordan and Green noted.
Trump administration officials have accused Communist China of mismanaging its response and hiding the extent of the outbreak within its borders during the early stages of the pandemic, with the help of the Beijing-influenced World Health Organization (WHO).