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Carper: “In the midst of a global pandemic, the Majority Leader says he’s concerned with nominations. Well, then, let’s address positions that are actually relevant”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the first day the Senate was back in session, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to focus on filling positions that are critical to the coronavirus response and making sure that the oversight bodies established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are fully functional. Senator Carper urged that, if the Majority Leader insists on bringing the Senate back despite ongoing stay-at-home orders across the region, then the Senate should be focused on ensuring that relief provided in the $2 trillion CARES Act is reaching the millions of Americans who find themselves in dire straits through no fault of their own.

Specifically, Senator Carper highlighted the importance of ensuring that the three new oversight bodies created by the CARES Act are fully functional so that money can get into the pockets of those who need it most. Senator Carper also urged his colleagues to confirm and support Inspectors General, the independent watchdogs responsible for identifying failures, corruption, and waste at agencies across the federal government. Since the Senate was last in session, President Trump has removed, reassigned, or undermined numerous Inspectors General (IG), including the Pentagon’s Inspector General who was chosen by his peers to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, one of the oversight bodies created by the CARES Act to monitor how the $2 trillion in funds are distributed.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, the Majority Leader says he’s concerned with nominations. Well, then, let’s address positions that are actually relevant, “said Senator Carper. “Currently, one-third of the Inspector General positions that are confirmed by the Senate either remain vacant or are without permanent leadership. The President has nominated individuals to fill some – but not all – of these positions. The Senate should work quickly to vet those nominees we have received, especially those who would be involved with oversight of the coronavirus response.”

Carper continued, “Since the Senate was last in session, the President has unceremoniously removed, reassigned or undermined highly regarded Inspectors General who apparently weren’t loyal enough to him or who dared to criticize what they viewed as a failed or flawed response to the coronavirus. I believe it’s clear that Congress needs to speak up when appropriate and do a better job supporting our Inspectors General when this President – or any President – takes retaliatory actions against the independent watchdogs responsible for identifying failures, waste, fraud, and abuse across the federal government. If the Senate is going to be back in session, it would seem to me that these critical oversight positions should be among our top priorities.”

View Senator Carper’s full remarks here.