Cummings Delivers Remarks on Resolution to Fully Enforce Committee Subpoenas and Hold the Trump Administration Accountable

Jun 11, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (June 11, 2019)— Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, made the following statement on the House floor in support of H.Res. 430, authorizing committee chairs to go directly to court to fully enforce their subpoenas without a full House vote.

The resolution passed by a vote of 229 to 191.

Remarks on House Floor

Click here to watch Chairman Cummings’ speech

Below are Chairman Cummings’ remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the House floor today:

Floor Statement
Chairman Elijah E. Cummings
June 11, 2019

I rise in strong support of this resolution.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Trump Administration is engaged in one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate. 

And it is not just about Russia.  It is so much broader than that.  This cover-up spans across numerous investigations, and it extends from the White House to multiple federal agencies of the government to completely separate outside parties.

Administration officials now question the fundamental basis for Congress to conduct oversight.  They object to Committee rules and precedents that have been in place for decades under both Republican and Democratic leaders.  And they make baseless legal arguments to avoid producing documents and testimony. 

The Trump Administration is challenging the very Constitutionality of congressional oversight—and it is happening in broad daylight. 

Several weeks ago, President Trump vowed publicly, “We’re fighting all the subpoenas.”  Since then, he has refused to work on legislative priorities, such as infrastructure, until Congress halts all oversight and investigations of his Administration. 

He wants us to forego our responsibility under the Constitution as a condition of passing laws to help our constituents.

The President’s arguments are baseless.  He suggests that all subpoenas from Congress are partisan and somehow related to the Russia probe.  But that is not correct.

In the Oversight Committee, we have issued eight subpoenas.  Six of them are bipartisan.  And none of them is about Russia.  They involve issues like the Census, immigrant children separated from their families, and the President’s finances.

This entire year, the White House has not produced one document to the Oversight Committee.  Let me say that again—in all of our investigations, the White House has not turned over one single shred of paper in response to any of our requests.

Over and over again, it does not matter what the topic is—the tactics are the same.  And this begs the question—what are they covering up? 

Tomorrow, our Committee will vote on whether to hold the Attorney General and the Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress for refusing to produce documents relating to the Census.  Again, these subpoenas are bipartisan, and this issue has nothing to do with Russia.  Yet, the Trump Administration has delayed, stonewalled, obstructed, and challenged the authority of Congress to even ask questions.

I support today’s resolution because it makes clear that—in addition to seeking criminal contempt on the House floor—committees may seek authority to enforce their subpoenas directly in civil court actions.

Nobody is above the law—even the President.  Today’s resolution reaffirms that Congress has independent authority under the Constitution to investigate waste, fraud, abuse, and wrongdoing so that we can pass laws that are effective and efficient on behalf of our constituents.

I urge my colleagues to support the resolution.  I yield back.

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116th Congress