By Baltimore AFRO Staff

In the wake of the Democratic Party’s pending takeover of the House of Representatives after the midterm elections results, Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD.-7) is poised to become the Chairman of the influential House Oversight Committee. Cummings responded to the AFRO’s questions about his new role, which he will assume in January.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD.-7) . (Courtesy Photo)

AFRO: As the new Chair of the House Oversight Committee, how do you strike a balance between moving the House forward for the collective good of the nation and providing constraints on perhaps the most corrupt administration in history?

Cummings: I see my role on the Oversight Committee as having two lanes.  The first is shining a light on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Trump Administration and making sure the government is working effectively and efficiently for the American people.  In the second lane, I want to focus on improving the lives of Americans in real and meaningful ways—from their homes to their health to their jobs to their education.  I want to focus on lowering the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs that many Americans depend on to survive, ensuring that every American has access to affordable and quality healthcare, and expanding funding and resources for the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities in red states, blue states, and purple states.

AFRO:  What does the Democratic Party’s majority in the House signal for the 2020 elections?

Cummings: Yesterday, the American people voted to put Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives.  They did so because they want Congress to do what the Constitution says—conduct responsible, credible oversight of the Executive Branch.  That’s what Democrats said they would do if they won the House, and that’s what Democrats now plan to do.  Overall, there is no question that the majority of the country voted in favor of Democrats, against President Trump, and for the House to conduct credible, responsible, independent oversight of the Trump Administration. We will see what happens in 2020.

AFRO: What is the most pressing issue that you hope the Oversight Committee will address first? Is there anything that you feel will be of particular interest to your constituents?

Cummings: My immediate priority is taking our Committee back to rigorous, responsible, fact-based oversight.  We are the primary investigative body of Congress—and our job is to ensure that the same requirements of transparency and accountability that have applied to every other presidential administration apply with equal force to the Trump administration.  One of the first issues we hope to address will be healthcare, including increasing critical funding and treatment for the opioid crisis that affects red states, blue states, and purple states.