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McCarthy names his picks for coronavirus select committee

Minority Whip Steve Scalise will be Republican ranking member

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union on Feb. 4, 2020.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union on Feb. 4, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday announced his picks for the House select committee on the coronavirus, despite consistently voicing his reservations about the need for the panel.

“While the Democrats might use this to take another stab at impeachment 2.0, Republicans will remain committed to truth and transparency,” McCarthy said of the committee tasked with overseeing a $2 trillion relief package designed to pull America out of economic despair. The California Republican has repeatedly said oversight components of the relief package are enough and the select committee is a partisan tool for Democrats to attack President Donald Trump.

Minority Whip Steve Scalise will lead the Republican contingent as its ranking member. He will be flanked by Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri, Jackie Walorski of Indiana and Mark E. Green of Tennessee.

“He will be the only doctor who is on this committee. He is a West Point graduate. He is an emergency room doctor,” McCarthy said of Green.

Like McCarthy, Scalise questioned Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s intentions but nonetheless said he was honored to be named to the panel.

“Rather than letting this effort devolve into yet another political witch hunt, I am determined to focus the subcommittee’s work on three important areas that Speaker Pelosi continues to overlook: holding China accountable for hiding the truth about the virus from the world, helping ensure the success of the largest relief effort in American history, and providing clear and immediate guidance on how to safely reopen our economy,” Scalise said in a statement.

Pelosi named her choices in late April. Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, who will chair the panel, will be joined by Maxine Waters of California, Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Nydia M. Velazquez of New York, Bill Foster of Illinois, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Andy Kim of New Jersey.

“I know what they do politically, that’s what always has given me concern about this committee,” McCarthy said after singling out Clyburn, Waters and Raskin, some of the president’s chief antagonists.

Jordan is one of Trump’s staunchest defenders and played an integral role in that defense during impeachment hearings in the House.

There is already a Congressional Oversight Commission to oversee the package in which Pelosi and McCarthy each appointed a House selection. Pelosi chose Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala; McCarthy chose Arkansas Rep. French Hill.

China task force

McCarthy also unveiled a new Republican-led task force focused on investigating a wide range of issues relating to China, most notably the way in which the nation handled the origin and spread of the coronavirus.

The purview, McCarthy said, would also include influence operations in the U.S. targeting universities, think tanks and the media as well as economic threats to government.

“The stakes are too high to sit idly by, which is why, today, I’m announcing the Republican-led China Task Force,” he said.

The group will be led by Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The other members are Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Jim Banks of Indiana, Andy Barr of Kentucky, John Curtis of Utah, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, John Joyce of Pennsylvania, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Darin LaHood of Illinois, Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania, Denver Riggleman of Virginia, Elise Stefanik of New York, Chris Stewart of Utah and Michael Waltz of Florida.

“The United States must lead the world in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its coronavirus deception and its many years of pernicious activities around the globe,” Cheney said in a statement. “This is a battle between freedom and totalitarianism, and we will never let the Chinese Government determine the kind of future we are going to live in.”

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