Washington, D.C. —Today, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly, Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Chairman Jamie Raskin, and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Harley Rouda, issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a national emergency:

“President Trump’s decision to finally declare this emergency is long overdue.  We asked FEMA to testify at our Committee hearing earlier this week to hear about their emergency preparedness and response to the coronavirus crisis, but they declined, claiming that ‘the Agency does not feel as if there is much that we would be able to testify to.’  We could not disagree more.  Over the past three months, there should have been intense planning to protect our food supply, expand hospital capacity, and manage a host of other emergency response challenges.  Instead, the Trump Administration has been inexcusably slow in responding to this crisis, and the President and some of his top aides have been shockingly dishonest about their actions to counter this threat to the American people.  We need leadership, we need competence, we need honesty, and we need to come together as a nation to help each other.”

On February 25, 2020, Subcommittee Chairman Lynch invited FEMA to testify at a hearing originally scheduled for March 4, 2020, and postponed several times to accommodate the agencies.  Given today’s announcement, the Chairs asked FEMA to provide a telephone briefing for members next week.