“Before I begin, I want to say to the families who are battling this virus or have lost a loved one, even when they couldn’t be near them — you are in our prayers.
“I also want to say a sincere thank you to all of the essential workers on the frontlines of this crisis — the medical professionals, farmers, truck drivers, postal workers, warehouse workers, and others who are making a meaningful and measurable difference in the lives of everyone.
“We will be forever grateful for those who have kept us safe, kept us healthy, and kept us fed. You deserve a government that strives to meet that same level of dedication.
“This is the commitment we make to every American: we will fight the virus together until we defeat it together.
“To do that Congress must act. And we will continue to act, even if some in this body want to put politics before people instead of helping protect American workers and small businesses.
“Our entire effort must be bipartisan. After all, public health and a strong economy are not Democrat or Republican issues.
“Unfortunately, the Speaker of the House has interjected politics where it doesn’t belong — into the oversight body of our necessary relief funds.
“Now I want everyone to understand that the CARES Act created 3 oversight bodies that are designed to be bipartisan and balanced.
“The first is called the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. It is made up of Inspectors General who are independent and professional.
“The second is the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery. This individual is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a 5 year appointment and $25 million budget.
“The third is called the Congressional Oversight Commission with Commissioners. This body is appointed by Congressional Leadership, is evenly split between parties, and must provide new reports due to Congress every 30 days.
“These oversight panels are all in addition to the oversight committees that already exist in Congress.
“But Speaker Pelosi decided she couldn’t trust her own chairs. So she created a special committee — one that is different from all the other oversight bodies created by the CARES Act.
“You see, this committee is the only committee that is lopsided towards one party.
“And out of all the members in her caucus, who did she pick to chair the committee? Majority Whip James Clyburn.
“I have to say, she couldn’t have picked a better political operative.
“After all, Whip Clyburn is the reason Joe Biden won South Carolina despite his poor showing in earlier states.
“And of course, this is the same Whip Clyburn who said that the coronavirus pandemic presented the perfect opportunity to “restructure things to fit our vision.”
“In other words, this panel isn’t about oversight. It’s about overt politics.
“But this isn’t the only issue where the Speaker is putting politics before people.
“4.4 million more people are now unemployed because vital emergency relief was held up by Democrats.
“On April 7th the administration requested more funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, a Marshall Plan for Main Street which has already saved over 30 million jobs … processed 14 years worth of applications in 14 days … and helped 1.6 million small businesses and nonprofits get the resources they need to pay their workers and keep their doors open. .
“Congressional Republicans stood ready to act. But Democrats demanded sweeping changes to a solid program and blocked the money.
“Everyone knew the relief funds were helping our nation’s workers. We — Republicans and Democrats — also knew the funds were going to run out quickly.
“But because Democrats decided to obstruct, the account lapsed on April 16th and is empty today — one long week later.
“The cruel result is less assistance and more anxiety for workers, families, and small businesses.
“One Democrat said they should continue to hold out in order to gain ‘leverage.’
“Another Democrat said ‘you love to see it,’ cheering the loss of good jobs in the energy industry.
“Democrats need to stop the gamesmanship and get back to putting Americans first.
“As I said earlier, it is our responsibility to act — to put aside our differences and to do what’s right for the American people.
“Now more than ever, the American people deserve a Congress that acts with leadership, dedication, and resilience.
“Anything we do in this chamber that deals with COVID should be bipartisan — from legislation to deliberation to voting.
“This is not a time for indifference, selfishness, or division.
“We are living in one of the great turning points in history.
“We are going to help Americans get through this.
“We are going to do this together.
“And in the end, we are going to be stronger, healthier, and more united than ever before.
“Because — as Americans — that’s who we are.
“Let’s never lose sight of who we are or whom we work for.
“And let’s get to work.
“I yield back.”