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GOP-led House Oversight Committee holds first meeting Wednesday with Kentucky lawmaker at the helm

Alex Brandon/AP
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for a 13th round of voting in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Kentucky Congressman James Comer is laying the groundwork for he called a "very busy agenda" as he chairs the House Oversight Committee. Comer's committee will start by probing the Biden administration's pandemic spending.

Tapped by colleagues to lead the oversight panel, Comer is likely to be the face of a host of Republican investigations over the coming session — that is, if firebrand Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, and Jim Jordan don't steal the spotlight.

The panel will kick off with a hearing on COVID-19 spending. If Comer's preview at a National Press Club appearance was meant to set the tone, expect no shortage of far-reaching accusations.

"For the past two years, Democrats did not conduct a single hearing of oversight of what may turn out to be the greatest theft of American taxpayer dollars in history," Comer announced. "After rushing through inflation-inducing government spending under the guise of pandemic relief, hundreds of billions of dollars have been stolen from America taxpayers, lining the pockets of criminals and foreign adversaries."

The congressman said he doesn't believe history will be kind to the federal government's pandemic loan programs, which have come in for criticism over a lack of oversight. While Comer's comments focused on Biden and Democrats, efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program were passed under the Trump administration.

Comer's committee is set to hear testimony on the spending on Wednesday.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.