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Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib Added to Oversight Committee Before Cohen Hearing

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), left, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) added a trio of progressive freshmen lawmakers to the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee, which plans on investigating the executive branch in a number of areas.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) are joining the panel as Pelosi pitched the addition of "outstanding members" on "critical committees, where their fresh vision and powerful voices will be critical."

Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) noted that the committee is "the primary investigative body in Congress, and we will address the issues that affect the American people every day while we root out waste, fraud, and abuse."

"The American people voted for accountability and transparency this past election, and I’m eager to work in a bipartisan manner on behalf of all of our constituents to deliver on these goals," he said.

Cummings also announced that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will testify before the committee on March 14 "voluntarily and without a subpoena."

The chairman has previously said he wants Ross to get grilled about the addition of a citizenship question to the U.S. Census, and Cummings said Tuesday he expects Ross to "provide complete and truthful answers to a wide range of questions, including questions regarding the ongoing preparations for the census, the addition of a citizenship question, and other topics."

"The Committee also expects full compliance with all of our outstanding document requests prior to the hearing," he added.

First up, though, is former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, scheduled to testify before the committee on Feb. 7.

Cummings said while Cohen will have a chance to publicly air his side of the story, the committee is going to "make sure that we do absolutely nothing to going to interfere with the Mueller investigation."

Senior committee GOPs Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Mark Meadows (N.C.) released a letter to Cohen's attorney, Guy Petrillo, stating that attorney Lanny Davis told them "the sole purpose of Cohen's appearance before the committee is to allow Cohen to share his personal anecdotes about his time working for the then-private citizen Donald J. Trump, and his experiences after Mr. Trump became President."