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The Overview Published: Dec 12, 2022

Comer in WSJ: Get Ready for Republican Oversight

WASHINGTON—In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) outlines how Republicans will return the committee to its proper role of rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the federal government. He details the committee’s top investigative priorities next Congress, including the border and fentanyl crises, pandemic relief fraud, botched Afghanistan withdrawal, energy crisis, Covid origins, and the Biden family’s suspicious business schemes. He concludes by emphasizing that Republicans will use the power of the gavel to provide Americans the answers, transparency, and accountability they deserve.

Democrats’ unchecked one-party rule over the past two years has resulted in multiple crises abroad and at home. Americans have made clear they want accountability in Washington, and Republicans are ready to deliver.

On every front, President Biden’s policies have been a disaster. Americans are facing historic inflation, skyrocketing energy costs, the worst border crisis in U.S. history, and surging fentanyl overdoses. They’ve witnessed our nation’s standing on the world stage plummet after the Afghanistan withdrawal. Students are suffering from acute learning loss and mental-health struggles because teachers unions and Democratic politicians worked to keep schools closed.

Governmental transparency also suffered, abetting these disastrous policies. Under Democratic control, the House Oversight Committee targeted American industry instead of fulfilling its primary job of providing Americans governmental transparency. Democrats’ inordinate focus on things like climate pledges made by U.S. oil and gas companies shielded the administration from meaningful oversight—as is made evident by the F grade the Oversight Committee received from the nonpartisan Lugar Center.

That will change in January when the GOP assumes its House majority. In the new Congress, Republicans will return the committee to its proper role: rooting out waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in the federal government. Committee members will conduct credible oversight, identify problems, and propose reforms. Here are some of our top priorities:

• Border and fentanyl crises. We will continue our investigation of the president’s radical immigration agenda, which has created the worst border crisis in U.S. history. The investigation began in February 2021 when congressional digging and media reporting shed light on how Mr. Biden’s policies aren’t preventing human smuggling, drug cartel operations, the flow of deadly drugs such as fentanyl into American communities, and the flood of illegal immigrants across the border in flagrant violation of immigration law. Not only has the administration failed to secure the border, it is diverting nearly $600 million intended for public health to pay for its self-inflicted national-security and public-safety crisis.

• Pandemic relief fraud. We owe it to Americans to identify how $560 billion—as I’ve estimated from watchdog, agency and media reports—spent under the guise of pandemic relief were lost to waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement. The Biden administration has allowed fraud to run rampant within federal assistance programs. Even after the pandemic abated and many states reopened, officials pushed for more inflation-inducing government spending. Reporting also indicates that states and localities are using Covid relief funds meant to address learning loss for unrelated, politically tinged expenditures such as electric buses and controversial ideologies. Republicans will ensure that the remaining money goes to helping children harmed by localities and states’ adherence to remote learning and addressing learning loss.

• Afghanistan withdrawal. The Biden administration’s botched exit led to the deaths of 13 U.S. service members and left the Afghan military confused and unprepared to defend the country. As a result, the Taliban seized American military equipment and nearly all of the progress made for women’s rights in the country was reversed. We began an investigation in August 2021 into the administration’s failure to conduct a safe withdrawal and the many consequences for national security. We plan to continue it.

• Energy crisis. The president’s war on U.S.-made fossil fuels has killed well-paying jobs in energy and driven up gas and energy prices. Yet even as Americans struggle to make ends meet, Mr. Biden has refused to unleash U.S. energy production, and instead has begged foreign dictators to pump more oil with meager price effects. Media reports say the president tried to work out a deal for Saudi Arabia to increase production ahead of the midterms. House Republicans will continue our investigation, which began in May 2022, into Mr. Biden’s efforts to diminish domestic energy production as part of his administration’s radical climate agenda and how he has jeopardized American energy independence.

• Covid origins. Discovering the origin of Covid-19 is vital to protecting Americans from future pandemics. Evidence continues to mount that the virus originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China. U.S. taxpayer dollars were funneled to the Wuhan lab to conduct gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses, and it seems that Anthony Fauci knew that the lab-leak theory was likely true, even as he dismissed the possibility in public. We will continue to follow the facts to determine what could have been done differently to guard against the harms Americans endured during the pandemic.

• Biden family’s business schemes. Evidence obtained by committee Republicans released in September 2022 revealed Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” The Biden family business model is built on Mr. Biden’s political career and the connections he has created, which have bettered the fortunes of his family, particularly his son Hunter Biden. To the detriment of American interests, Joe Biden’s family traded on his name for profit around the world. If Mr. Biden’s family members have deals with foreign adversaries, it could compromise his decision-making as president in a way that threatens national security.

With the power of the gavel in Republican hands, Americans will finally get some of the answers, transparency and accountability they deserve—as well as real solutions. Based on our oversight work, House Republicans will propose reforms that can ease these crises and stop future abuses. We will use every tool at our disposal to make the federal government efficient, effective and accountable.