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EXCLUSIVE: House Small Business Committee Republicans are pressing demands for Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen to testify before their committee on the Hill, requesting her updated 2022 public calendar.
The letter sent to Yellen Monday, led by ranking member Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., states that the secretary’s background and experience would help the nation address “increasing prices, growing supply chain disruptions, and continued labor shortages” as inflation continues to surge.
“Small business owners and their employees deserve nothing less than to hear your testimony before this Committee on what steps are now being taken to address inflation,” they write.
The lawmakers also seek Yellen’s testimony regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was established to give small businesses assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been growing scrutiny of the program, which faced challenges and fraud allegations, that Republicans say demands the secretary’s attention.
However, the Treasury Department told Fox News Digital it doesn’t plan on sending Yellen to testify before the Small Business Committee, because her deputy can stand in her place, and the agency already publicly releases her calendars.
“Secretary Yellen looks forward to continuing her robust engagement with Congress, which has included testifying over a dozen times before the House and the Senate, including six hours of testimony last week before Congress,” a Treasury spokesperson told Fox News Digital in response to the letter.
“The Deputy Treasury Secretary has legal authority to fulfill this requirement to testify before the Small Business Committees, and he has already agreed and offered to appear before them. We hope the Committees will allow him to appear to testify.”
The spokesperson also noted that the department does release Yellen’s calendars publicly on a quarterly basis.
The last batch of calendars on Treasury’s website are from the October-December 2021 quarter. The department did not say when the first quarter 2022 calendars will be made public.
The House Republicans demand the agency provide calendar entries between Jan. 1, 2022, and the present by June 27.
The back and forth between House and Senate Small Business Committee members and Yellen has been constant over the last year. Lawmakers take issue with the fact that Yellen has testified before more than a dozen committees on Capitol Hill but has skirted public appearances where she would discuss issues of import to small businesses.
“It has been 408 days since the statutory deadline for you to testify this Committee has lapsed,” Luetkemeyer wrote in the letter sent Monday evening. “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.”
Across the Capitol, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., led Senate Republicans last week in a letter demanding Yellen fulfill her constitutional obligation to testify before the Senate’s small business panel as inflation reaches historic heights.
The department’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Jonathan Davidson, told senators the agency had determined that the deputy secretary could legally fulfill the requirement in place of Yellen.
However, the senators took issue with that determination in their letter Thursday, writing: “The law is clear. The Secretary is required to testify, and this duty is not delegable. Therefore, the Deputy Secretary is not authorized to satisfy your legal obligation to testify before the Committee.”