Connect with us

Politics

Informal discussions begin on 9/11-style commission on coronavirus response

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Informal discussions have begun on Capitol Hill about the possibility of creating a panel to scrutinize the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that would be modeled on the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

They described the discussions as “very preliminary” and involving mostly congressional Democrats.

One option could be a plan to review the administration’s response in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, two of the people said.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The review would focus on lessons learned about the government’s preparedness and what the administration could have handled better, they said, adding that the goal would be to come up with a better plan to handle a pandemic in the future.

A wholesale examination of the administration’s response could gain traction with the passing of a gruesome milestone Tuesday, when the number of deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus surpassed the number of people who were killed on 9/11.

But the formation of any commission, or possible congressional investigations, wouldn’t happen until after the country is through the crisis, the people familiar with the discussions said. Some lawmakers have suggested putting off any investigation until after November’s presidential election, they said.

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission was created by legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush to review the government’s preparedness for and response to the 2001 terrorist attacks. It was formed a year after the attacks and two years before Bush was up for re-election.

President Donald Trump has defended his administration’s handling of the pandemic, and his White House has repeatedly bucked congressional oversight.

The people familiar with the discussions said expectations are low for a review that has broad bipartisan support in Congress and the backing of the White House, particularly in an election year.

“I don’t know that you would get administration buy-in for something like that,” a senior administration official said. “Then, if the Democrats do one, it’s all one-sided.”

Any plan for a review that was tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act would require support from Senate Republicans and the White House.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak

Separately, Congress wrote a number of accountability provisions into the third coronavirus relief bill, the CARES Act, to monitor the administration’s response and the distribution of billions of dollars of federal funds.

And the House Oversight and Reform Committee has already begun asking questions about the lack of access to testing early on in the crisis, even as Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., says the committee will dig deeply into the administration’s response after the crisis is over.

“The committee’s top priority is the health and safety of the American people, so we have been working to push the administration to identify and fix problems and to share more accurate information with the public,” Maloney said in a statement. “There is no doubt that the administration has mishandled this entire crisis, and our committee will certainly be engaged in robust oversight to review what happened and how to avoid these mistakes in the future.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., raised the prospect of an investigation Sunday, saying Trump’s response cost lives and questioning whether he was leveling with Americans early on about the threat.

“What did he know, and when did he know it?” Pelosi asked in an interview on CNN. “That’s for an after-action review.”



Source link

Politics

Britons furious as Barnier offers Remainers two-year Brexit delay – ‘Get us out!’

Published

on

BRITONS have reacted with fury after Michel Barnier suggested a two-year Brexit delay in a letter to opposition leaders.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Senators sound alarm over coronavirus in juvenile detention facilities

Published

on

A group of senators is pressing the Department of Justice to explain what it’s doing to protect youth in juvenile detention facilities from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the senators raised concerns that parents of incarcerated youth in several states are not receiving information about their child’s health, or being told about the spread of the coronavirus in these facilities. The senators requested that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, part of the Justice Department, publicly disclose the measures it has taken to ensure the health and safety of youth in detention during the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19 thrives in juvenile detention facilities, where communal living arrangements make it difficult or impossible to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended public health measures such as maintaining social distance, self-isolating, and using personal protective equipment,” the senators state, later adding: “Because the majority of youth in detention are black or Hispanic, the spread of COVID-19 within juvenile detention may further perpetuate the disparate impact of the virus along racial and ethnic lines.”

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The letter, organized by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asks for a response by June 12 to a list of detailed questions. The group includes 11 other Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Physicians, epidemiologists, defense attorneys, advocates for youth and parents nationwide have issued multiple calls for the release of children held in juvenile detention facilities in recent months.

While children are generally less likely to have severe reactions to the coronavirus, the disease poses a higher risk for people with underlying health issues, and youth in detention are more likely to have those conditions. Additionally, experts warn, children can spread the virus to the adult staff who then might take it home.

As of May 26, there are at least 488 youth and 580 staff in juvenile detention facilities who have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. However, this is an incomplete accounting and is highly dependent on what state and local officials decide to release.

Juvenile detention facilities are controlled at the local level — either by city, county or state governments — and releases can be subject to approval by a judge.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is set up to help local governments improve their juvenile justice systems and provides grants to states. The group of senators wants the office to disclose how many COVID-19 cases there are among the youth and staff of these grantees.

The office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Brexiteers fear 'Frost is next!' Conspiracy claims over Cummings sack demands

Published

on

DEMANDS for Dominic Cummings to be sacked have sparked concern of a Remainer plot among Brexiteers – with some even worried the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost could be targeted next.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending