House Democrats’ chief investigative committee is picking at flea collars and pro football team harassment while the chaos at the southern border claims a record number of lives, the panel’s top Republican charged Monday, demanding the committee shift gears and stark tackling one of the big issues facing the country.
Rep. James Comer, the ranking Republican on the Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a letter that he’s now made six requests for hearings on the border, with no response.
The Kentucky lawmaker and fellow Republicans said the lack of hearings is part of the reason the Lugar Center gave the panel an “F” grade for its oversight efforts — a particularly devastating evaluation for the House’s top investigative committee.
“The border crisis demands our oversight. Therefore, we are disappointed in your silence,” Mr. Comer and fellow committee Republicans wrote in a letter to committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat.
The plea for hearings comes as Homeland Security released the latest border numbers showing Customs and Border Protection encountered 207,416 illegal immigrants at the southern border in June. That’s down from May, when nearly 240,000 were nabbed, but it still marks the worst June on record.
The letter also comes less than a month after 53 migrants died in Texas after being stuffed inside the back of a tractor-trailer without a working air conditioning unit in 100-degree heat. It is the worst border migrant case in history.
DOCUMENT: Letter to Rep. Maloney on Border Crisis
“Only cartels are benefitting from the southern border crisis. Our Committee must not stand on the sidelines but take action immediately,” Mr. Comer and the other Republicans wrote.
They suggested calling as witnesses Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz and acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson as witnesses for a border hearing.
The Washington Times has reached out to Ms. Maloney’s office for comment on the request for hearings.
Mr. Comer said one Democrat on the panel who recently doubted the committee has jurisdiction to look into the border mess. But he said that wasn’t the case in the last Congress, when Democrats were still in control of the House but a Republican, President Trump, sat in the White House.
The panel held “multiple immigration and border-related hearings,” Mr. Comer said.
The panel was more active all around when Mr. Trump was in office, scoring an “A” grade from the Lugar Center for its level of hearings probing the GOP administration in 2019 and 2020. It has an “F” grade now that President Biden is in office.
So, too, do the Homeland Security Committee and the Judiciary Committee, both of which also claim jurisdiction over the border and the agencies that are supposed to secure it. Both of those panels scored “A” grades in the previous Congress, when Mr. Trump was overseeing the border.
The Oversight Committee has one hearing scheduled for this week on the role of farms in combatting global warming. Last month, it held the flea and tick collar hearing, as well as hearings on Washington Commanders workplace misconduct, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gun violence and drug overdoses.
Mr. Comer and fellow Republicans said focusing on pet collars or the football situation was a “waste” of time.