- Chairman of the US House Oversight Committee James Comer (R-Ky.) said his committee will "examine" the federal and state response to the wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, and work with other committees to ensure accountability and minimize "the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars."1
- This follows House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) statement last week referring to the current confirmed death toll of 115 people. He asked, "How could you lose that many Americans in today’s age," adding that he would launch an investigation.2
- Republicans have also criticized Pres. Joe Biden's decision to vacation in Delaware, five days after the fires started and his reported reply of "no comment" to a question about the disaster. However, he did declare a disaster immediately after the fires broke, and 1K federal workers have been on the ground in response.3
- Authorities have faced scrutiny for their decisions — including not using emergency sirens as fires ravaged the island and the state's Dept. of Land and Natural Resources reportedly delaying releasing water to put out the fires.1
- Residents of Maui have criticized the federal government for not providing enough immediate support and resources like portable power generators, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blames on a staffing shortage.4
- While US Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) accused the GOP of using the probe to score political points, fellow Hawaiian Democrat, US Sen. Brian Schatz, said he "can agree with...House Republicans articulating that the federal government should do more for Maui."3
- Republican narrative, as provided by Townhall. Those responsible for the lackluster response in Maui should be afraid of this investigation. Officials from the federal level down to the local failed miserably, from not sounding the emergency alarms to trapping victims near the fires by blocking evacuation routes. Joe Biden's public statements during the depth of the crisis showed very little urgency. This probe is badly needed.
- Democratic narrative, as provided by The White House. From FEMA and the Dept. of Health and Human Services to Homeland Security and the US military, the Biden admin. has deployed every tool in its arsenal to help the people of Maui recover from this tragic natural disaster. Hundreds of employees have been deployed, tens of thousands of meals handed out, and $700 was given to each household displaced by the fires. Republicans will turn any tragedy into an opportunity to win political points, but the fact is that the government stepped in when and where it was needed.