Republican lawmakers issued a letter Wednesday accusing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen of "dodging" public hearings regarding programs she oversees while opting for "partisan, closed-door meetings" with Democrats.
In their letter, Republican Reps. Steve Scalise, Patrick McHenry, James Comer and Blaine Luetkemeyer said Yellen was having a private meeting to discuss emergency rental assistance with Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., on Tuesday while the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a public hearing on the same topic.
"What initially appeared to be an effort to avoid answering difficult questions from Republicans and Democrats alike now appears to be something more cynical in light of yesterday morning’s private meeting with a House Democrat — a coordinated strategy to provide critical information on a partisan ex parte basis," the lawmakers wrote. "In fact, your closed-door meeting to discuss the Department’s emergency rental assistance program occurred during a public hearing on that very topic!"
The lawmakers said House Democrats have allowed Yellen to "undermine" congressional oversight of the Treasury Department by waiving a series of statutorily mandated appearances and by refusing to include her as a witness for hearings on programs administered by her own department.
"We are extremely disappointed at your posture with respect to your statutory and constitutional obligations to provide information to Congress," they wrote. "The White House called for an ‘all-hands-on-deck effort by state and local governments, courts, community organizations, and the legal community’ to reach families in need. By foregoing a series of opportunities to testify and highlight the urgent need for those key partners to disburse emergency rental assistance funds, you have failed to do your part."
"We fully expect you will appear before our committees going forward, in compliance with your statutory obligations and as necessary to help our constituents understand the status of the many Treasury Department programs they are counting on," they concluded. "Please advise immediately as to when you intend to testify before the House of Representatives."
The letter comes just three days before a federal ban on evictions is poised to expire, putting millions of renters at risk of being thrown out of their homes. Meanwhile, only 6.5% of the $46 billion in federal aid that Congress approved between December and March has been allocated to renters and landlords, the Treasury said last week.
The Treasury Department did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.