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Luetkemeyer Demands Documents and Information Explaining Yellen’s Refusal to Testify

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer penned a letter to U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, requesting documents and communications material relating to the offers to testify before the House Small Business Committee. Ranking Member Luetkemeyer issued the following statement regarding this oversight letter:

“Secretary Yellen continues to dodge offers to perform her statutorily required duty to testify before the House Committee on Small Business to speak on matters related to COVID-19 relief loans – which are critical to the legislative business of this Committee. Due to her continued dereliction of duty, I am investigating who and what is keeping the Treasury Secretary from appearing before this Committee,” said Ranking Member Luetkemeyer.

Read the full letter here.

Read key excerpts of the letter below:

“American small businesses continue to suffer the consequences of rising inflation with no immediate end in sight.  With increasing prices, growing supply chain disruptions, and continued labor shortages, many are left questioning what actions this administration is taking to aid in the nation’s economic recovery.  As such, I am once again requesting your testimony before the House Committee on Small Business.  Your background and experience lend itself well to address the difficult challenges currently vexing the American economy.”

“Your continued refusal to testify is an affront to our Committee, Congress, and the millions of struggling Americans and small businesses we represent.  In contrast, Administrator Guzman of the SBA recognized the oversight role Congress performs and has complied with her obligation to testify.  It has been 408 days since the statutory deadline for you to testify before this Committee has lapsed.  During this period, you have found time to testify more than a dozen times before other Congressional committees.  I am frustrated and concerned over the fact that, despite acknowledging the importance of supporting small businesses through our nation’s economic recovery, you continue to refuse to address the only House committee solely dedicated to assessing and investigating the problems of small businesses.  Recognizing the important roll small businesses play in our nation’s economic recovery, why doesn’t the House Committee on Small Business deserve the same respect you appear to afford other committees?

“I would like to remind you of the clear promise you made at your confirmation hearing. You stated, without reservation, that you would testify before a committee of Congress upon request if you were confirmed.  Considering your nearly 50 years in public service, it is unthinkable why you have ignored your obligation under the law, and your pledge to Congress and the American people to be completely open and transparent.

“The House Committee on Small Business, the small businesses impacted by our work, and the American people we represent, deserve to hear from you.  Just as the small business owner cannot delegate their responsibility to pay rising inflationary costs, you too should not delegate your responsibility to speak directly to their concerns.  We have the same goal – to help create a small business environment that promotes job growth and expansion.  It is time to see open, transparent, and bipartisan dialogue and action from the Treasury Department.

“To help inform the Committee’s ongoing oversight of these issues, as well as to better inform the Committee’s legislative efforts in response, please produce the following no later than June 27, 2022:

  1. “On your website you note, ‘[t]he U.S. Department of Treasury publicly releases Secretary Janet L. Yellen’s calendars on a quarterly basis,’ but the department stopped doing so in December of 2021.  Please produce all calendar entries for Secretary Yellen between the dates of January 1, 2022 to the present.
  2. “In a May 17th letter from Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Jonathan C. Davidson, he notes that ‘Deputy Secretary Adeyemo has repeatedly offered to testify before the Committee.’  Please produce all documents and communications relating to these offers to testify before the Committee.”