On Tuesday, Bloomberg News painted a damning picture of the current state of a key congressionally-created watchdog group to oversee the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus program.
"On April 6, Bharat Ramamurti became the first person named to the Congressional Oversight Commission supposed to police the massive coronavirus relief fund. A former top staffer for Senator Elizabeth Warren, Ramamurti expected to have company — the new law requires congressional leaders to appoint a five-member panel," wrote Joshua Green. "He’s still waiting."
Under the CARES Act, one member of the commission each is picked by the four congressional leaders — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), with the chairperson chosen jointly by Pelosi and McConnell. But so far, only Schumer has acted, appointing Ramamurti.
"As tens of billions of taxpayer dollars from the $2.2 trillion relief bill begin flowing out the door, Ramamurti remains the lone member appointed to the panel," continued the report. "With no colleagues, no staff, and no office, he’s had to rely on one of the few avenues he has to communicate with the public: his unverified Twitter feed."
To start, here’s several questions I had after the Treasury and the Fed announced how they’d use about a third of t… https://t.co/kZwVM8s78S— Bharat Ramamurti (@Bharat Ramamurti)1586902478.0
"Under the new law, the disbursement of Treasury funds triggers a countdown clock that requires the oversight commission to produce its first public report within 30 days," wrote Green. "Lacking a better option, Ramamurti took to Twitter to react to the new Fed programs and give the public an idea of what sorts of questions the commission — that is, he — would try to address in its initial report. 'I hate to be that guy pointing you to his tweets,' he said, 'but I put out 9 or 10 questions on a bunch of the new actions. It would be great to start providing answers. It’s important because the money, and the economic crisis, is moving so quickly that you want to be able to exercise proper oversight.'"
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