As House Democrats ramp up their oversight investigations into President Donald Trump’s administration, businesses, and 2016 campaign, at least one Republican has found a new battleground to push back: funding for the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
That panel’s chairman, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, asked the House Administration Committee on Tuesday for a funding increase of 4 percent this year and 10 percent next year over funding levels from the previous, GOP-controlled 115th Congress.
But Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the Oversight panel, opposed Cummings’ budget request, citing the national debt and criticizing Democratic committee members’ investigative priorities. The Oversight panel — which is investigating the Trump administration’s security clearance policy and the president’s potential conflicts of interest stemming from his businesses, among other threads of inquiry — could use that extra funding to fill “essential” staff positions that Cummings asserted on Tuesday have “long been vacant.”
The Maryland Democrat indicated in an interview with Roll Call last week that the committee’s communications staff is long overdue for more resources.
“Even if the investigations weren’t going on, in this era of social media we have a lot more people contacting us, and we got to answer,” Cummings said.
Jordan, one of Trump’s closest allies in the House, was the only ranking member in the chamber to oppose a Democratic committee budget proposal.
The Ohio Republican told Roll Call on Tuesday that while he personally would prefer that the Oversight Committee’s budget be reduced even further from the last Congress, he is asking that it remain the same.
“Here’s the bottom line: We’ve got a $22 trillion debt. It seems to me Congress should set the example and not be increasing budgets for Congress,” Jordan said.
Jordan criticized Democrats for bringing in former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen for public testimony in February. Cohen will begin a three-year prison sentence in May after he pleaded guilty last year to multiple charges of financial fraud as well as to lying to Congress in 2017.
“You look at the first two months of this Congress with the Oversight Committee and what the Democrats have done — really? We want more money for more Michael Cohen hearings? Come on,” Jordan said.