The Hill: Virginia Democrat blasts House GOP panel: Trying to ‘vilify’ agencies for ‘political gain’

THE HILL, JULIA MUELLER

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) on Monday accused Republican lawmakers of trying to “vilify” federal agencies for “political gain” with plans for a House panel that would investigate law enforcement and national security bodies.

“The idea that they are creating this new entity meant to look at … how agencies may have been politicized is indeed an effort and an exercise in politicizing them,” Spanberger told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

“The fact that we have members of Congress who are willing to vilify them for political gain is stunning to me,” Spanberger said of GOP efforts targeting the FBI in particular, adding it’s “frankly offensive” given her background in the national security space.

The House rules package that took center stage as Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tried to flip GOP holdout votes during the multiday Speakership elections last week includes directions to establish a subcommittee on the “weaponization” of the federal government, housed under the House Judiciary Committee.

The proposed panel has been likened to a “Church-style” probe, a reference to a 1975 Senate select committee that looked at intelligence agency abuses, so named for former Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho).

The panel would take aim at the Department of Justice and FBI. Republican lawmakers have long shared plans for this and other probes as they take power in the new Congress, and the lower chamber is set to vote on the rules package Monday.

Yet Spanberger argued Monday that Congress already has the oversight powers that the committee is gearing to take on.

“We already have oversight committees, right? We already have the Judiciary Committee that has oversight over the FBI and over the Department of Justice. We already have the House Foreign Affairs Committee that has oversight over the State Department. We already have the House Intelligence Committee that has oversight over the intelligence community,” she said.

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