‘Waste, fraud, abuse’: GOP lawmaker says House committee will investigate COVID spending

WASHINGTON – A top Republican lawmaker on Sunday laid out priorities for the House Oversight Committee if he becomes chairman, saying that COVID-19 funding will be a big focus.

Republican Rep. James Comer, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, told NBC’s "Meet the Press" he believes “there have been hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars wasted over the past three years, so that spans two administrations, in the name of COVID.”

He added the committee will have hearings on the funding, as well as fraudulent unemployment insurance funds and fraudulent PPP loan funds.

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“These are things that are going to be priorities for us as a committee: waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement,” said Comer, a Kentucky Republican. “That's going to be the goal of the House Oversight Committee.”

U.S. House Committee for Oversight and Reform ranking member Rep. James Comer Jr., R-Ky., listens during a hearing on the Washington Commanders' workplace conduct, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
U.S. House Committee for Oversight and Reform ranking member Rep. James Comer Jr., R-Ky., listens during a hearing on the Washington Commanders' workplace conduct, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is stepping down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said last week he would testify before Congress if asked. Fauci became the public face of the nation’s COVID-19 response.

“If there are oversight hearings, I absolutely will cooperate fully and testify before the Congress, if asked,” Fauci said at a White House press briefing. “I’ve testified before the Congress a few hundred times … over the last 40 years or so.  So I have no trouble testifying.”

Comer said the committee will also “investigate between 40 and 50 different things.” He gave no indication what other top priorities will be.

While Comer on Sunday did not mention investigating Biden or his family, he has previously indicated that Hunter Biden, the president’s son, would be investigated by Congress. Hunter Biden, who has written a book about his substance abuse problems, has been under investigation by the Justice Department about allegations involving his compliance with tax laws and other issues.

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But Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who will likely serve as the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, indicated Sunday on ABC’s "This Week" program that the committee will look into the contents of a laptop belong to Hunter Biden. Biden's laptop was discovered after being left at a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, in 2019, and data from it was obtained by the New York Post in 2020.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who will likely be the next House Foreign Affairs chairman, told ABC the committee will investigate the withdrawal in Afghanistan.

“The way it was done was … such a disaster and such a disgrace to our veterans that served in Afghanistan,” McCaul said. “They deserve answers to the many questions we have.”

Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: House Republicans to investigate COVID funds, Rep. James Comer says