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June 30, 2020

Homeland Security Committee Releases Report on Oversight of Federal Coronavirus Response

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, released a majority staff report detailing how the Committee has worked to respond to the coronavirus pandemic facing our nation. The Committee kicked off its oversight effort with three hearings on coronavirus in March.  After social distancing protocols took effect, the Committee continued its robust oversight of the Trump Administration’s preparedness and response activities. 

Since March, the Committee has convened 12 virtual forums and Members have received 10 briefings with Administration officials to examine all aspects of the pandemic response and its many homeland security implications. The Committee has also issued more than 40 letters and requests for documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and their component agencies. 

The Committee’s key priorities have included:

  • Supporting frontline employees by, in part, introducing legislation to ensure healthcare coverage and other benefits are provided to at-risk frontline Federal workers. 
  • Strengthening preparedness and response by working with other Committees, the Government Accountability Office, and Inspectors General to ensure that all facets of the pandemic are examined and that there is complete accountability. 
  • Introducing legislation to create a coronavirus commission, similar to the 9/11 Commission.
  • Demanding accountability for PPE shortages by conducting an ongoing investigation and demanding documents from the Administration about Federal efforts to procure and distribute PPE, such as Project Airbridge.  
  • Fighting to eliminate the disaster response cost share to ensure local governments are not burdened with the cost of response efforts they cannot afford. 
  • Securing critical infrastructure—including state and local networks, our elections, and health networks—from growing foreign interference and cyber threats. 
  • Flattening the misinformation curve by demanding social media companies curb the growing amount of divisive misinformation spread by bad actors trying to sow chaos.  
  • Countering threats to the homeland by working to ensure that DHS does not lose focus on all its vital missions, including threats from extremists that have sought to exploit the pandemic.
  • Protecting the health and safety of migrants—including unaccompanied children—as well as the Federal employees who care for them. 

 Congressman Thompson released the following statement with the report:

“The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most challenging adversities our country has faced and has posed a multi-faceted, rapidly evolving threat to our homeland. I am proud of the work our Committee has done during this unprecedented crisis to hold this Administration accountable for its inadequate, and at times dangerous and counterproductive, response. We will continue to provide the essential oversight our nation needs to help ensure our response efforts are led by the truth, guided by experts, and put the safety and health of our workers and families first. Our work on this generational challenge is just beginning.”  

Link to Report

Link to all Committee COVID-19 Oversight

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