Republican senator slams Congress' 'unserious' efforts to hold Biden, COVID authorities accountable

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., blasted Congress Tuesday for “out of control” federal spending and “unserious” efforts to hold the government accountable.

Johnson, ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, spoke this morning at the Heritage Foundation's “U.S. Government Armament Symposium,” where he discussed his investigations into the COVID-19 pandemic response. COVID-19 and the great difficulties in ensuring oversight of the Biden administration.

Congress's problem, Johnson argued, is that its members voted to expand government without providing proper oversight for waste, fraud, and abuse. He observed that federal spending is expected to reach $6.9 trillion this year, while his investigative committee's budget has been cut.

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Ron Johnson

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, during a Senate Budget Committee hearing in Washington, DC, Tuesday, March 12, 2024. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I had my funding cut when I became a senior member, okay. Do you know how many staff members we have to supervise millions of government employees? We have five. That's telling how unserious Congress is about oversight,” Johnson complained.

The Wisconsin Republican led the charge in the Senate to investigate the origins of COVID. He also accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of coordinating with social media companies to censor COVID vaccine skeptics — although critics have accused Johnson of peddling anti-vaccine misinformation. Johnson is also a top Senate Republican investigating allegations of corruption surrounding President Biden's involvement in his son Hunter Biden's business dealings.

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Sense.  Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, FBI logo in the middle

Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa (left), and Ron Johnson have led GOP investigations into the Justice Department's handling of the Hunter Biden investigation. (AP/Getty Images)

But on Tuesday, Johnson warned that the federal government has become “out of control” to the point that Congress can no longer exercise oversight and accountability.

“Administrations, both Republican and Democratic, are giving us the middle finger,” Johnson said. “They don't respond. Yes, so they are completely unaccountable to the American public through your elected representatives. And this has been going on for decades. So they are completely immune from surveillance investigations. ”

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Republican Senator Ron Johnson

Johnson warned Tuesday that the federal government had become so large that oversight was nearly impossible. (Getty Images)

Republicans involved in the Hunter Biden investigation have claimed the White House is obstructing investigators by withholding evidence and preventing Justice Department witnesses from testifying. Radical conservatives have argued for Congress to use the power of the purse to get the Biden administration to cooperate by withholding funding from agencies — but most lawmakers are opposed to that strategy, which would likely result in a partial government shutdown.

Johnson said his colleagues “don't really consider all this government that they're voting for, all this spending.”

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“Again, to me, the problem is a massive federal government that has gone so far outside the constraints of the Constitution. The government is doing things that our Founding Fathers never envisioned,” Johnson said.

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