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No Probe on Trump’s Early Virus Response, House Democrat Says

Naomi Nix

(Bloomberg) -- House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said it’s unlikely a congressional panel overseeing coronavirus relief will investigate the Trump administration’s initial response to the pandemic that’s claimed thousands of American lives.

“This committee will be forward-looking,” Clyburn told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “We’re not going to be looking back on what the president may or may not have done back before this crisis hit. The crisis is with us.”

The South Carolina lawmaker said the panel will instead be looking at how $2 trillion stimulus package to address the economic fallout of the spread of Covid-19 is administered.

“The American people are now out of work, millions of them out of work,” he said. “The question is whether or not the money that’s appropriated will go to support them and their families, or whether or not this money will end up in the pockets of a few profiteers.”

Clyburn’s remarks arrive as some Democratic governors criticize the Trump administration for what they say is a failure to provide adequate supplies or centralized policies to the states to address the crisis, despite having weeks or months of lead time.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said during a Sunday news conference that the federal government knew about the seriousness of the virus as early as January but failed to act quickly enough.

“The idea that the United States federal government did nearly nothing for quite a long time is now being visited upon us,” Pritzker said. “If action had been taken earlier a lot fewer lives would be lost.”

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