House Republicans begin hearings today on border, government COVID-19 relief spending

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


House Republicans kicked off two concurrent investigative hearings into the Biden administration today, the first of what promises to be a steady stream of hearings – and fireworks – on Capitol Hill, considering numerous probes into the Biden administration and the Biden family business announced by House Republicans in the 118th Congress. 

The House Judiciary Committee will hold the first of its so-called “Biden’s Border Crisis” hearings, featuring testimony from border state law enforcement and a representative of families of fentanyl overdose victims.  The House Oversight and Accountability Committee is also slated to hold its first hearing on alleged waste, fraud and abuse in federal pandemic spending. Both hearings commenced at 10 a.m. EST.

The Judiciary Committee said that today’s hearings, titled “Biden’s Border Crisis, Part 1,” will “examine border security, national security, and how fentanyl has impacted American lives,” according to the committee’s website. The panel will hear testimony from Brandon Dunn, co-founder of the Forever 15 Project, a group formed to spread awareness of the dangers of fentanyl. Dunn lost his son, Noah, to fentanyl poisoning in August of last year. The deadly synthetic opioid, which is primarily manufactured in China, has poured into the U.S. across the southern border under the Biden administration – so much so that fentanyl poisoning became the leading cause of death of U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 in 2022.  

“Fentanyl fatally poisons one person in America every 8 minutes. Significant amounts are smuggled across the southern border each day. That’s why it’s so important to get the border crisis under control,” Committee chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tweeted Wednesday ahead of the hearings. 

The Committee will also hear testimony from Terrell County, Texas Judge Dale Carruthers, and Cochise County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Dannels today.

The hearings, and any that follow, take on added significance in juxtaposition to the GOP’s push to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his alleged role in ushering in arguably the worst illegal immigration crisis in modern U.S. history. The U.S. saw an influx of a staggering 2.7 million migrants in Fiscal Year 2022, according to Customs and Border Patrol data. Fox News reported last week that there have been an additional 1.2 million known “gotaways” under the Biden administration – unidentified migrants who manage to evade border agents and enter the U.S. without any form of vetting.

FISM previously reported that 98 encounters with migrants whose names appear on the FBI’s Terrorist Screen Database (TSDB) were reported in FY 2022. In just the first few weeks of the first quarter of FY 2023, Border Patrol agents reported encounters with 38 migrants on the TSDB.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability will hear from witnesses today in its probe of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 spending titled: “Federal Pandemic Spending: A Prescription for Waste, Fraud and Abuse.”

Lawmakers will hear testimony today from David Smith, Offices of Investigations Assistant Director; Michael E. Horowitz, who chairs the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee of the Inspector General of the Justice Department; and Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The hearings will focus on “the rampant waste of taxpayer dollars in COVID relief programs,” according to a committee press release

“We owe it to Americans to identify how hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent under the guise of pandemic relief were lost to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement,” Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a statement. 

“For the past two years, Democrats in the Administration and Congress have spent far too much time pushing money out the door and far too little time conducting meaningful oversight of how that money is being spent,” Comer continued. “That changes with our House Republican majority. Under Republican leadership, the Oversight Committee is returning to its primary duty to root out waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the federal government and hold President Biden accountable.”