Incoming Republican leaders of the House announced Monday, their intentions to launch a series of six major investigations into waste and fraud in the first three months of the year. On Sunday, the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), promised to closely examine actions of the White House and Democratic-controlled Congress and expose bloated bureaucracy and waste.
Included on the list is the “impact on government hyperregulation on job creation,” the release of classified cables by WikiLeaks, recalls at the Food and Drug Administration, the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to identify the catalyst of the economic crisis, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the mortgage meltdown crisis, and business regulations and corruption in Afghanistan.
“I’ve always been fond of the saying that when it comes to oversight and reform, the federal government does two things well: nothing and overreact,” Issa said Monday. “Too often, a problem is allowed to fester until it reaches a crisis point. . ..and the American people are left asking the question: what went wrong and why?”
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to be yet another distraction for the Obama administration, because of its ability to subpoena records it feels are needed to investigate wrongdoing. Most of its initial actions are directed at economic issues, although some committee members have said they plan to investigate the radicalization of Muslims in the U.S., and homeland security issues at airports, shipping container ports and chemical plants.
Issa’s Democrat counterpart on the committee, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), said he was concerned that Issa has already jumped to conclusions about the administration, even before having any facts to back up his claims. Cummings will be the chief person on the committee to defend the Obama administration from attacks by the GOP.
Cummings also singled out a statement made a few months ago by Issa, saying that the Obama administration was “one of the most corrupt in modern history.”
“Corruption basically says people are criminals, and I think that’s a pretty strong statement having not one scintilla of evidence, having not heard one hearing or had one testimony,” said Cummings. “I think that if we have concerns, then what we should do is in a bipartisan way bring witnesses before our committee, depose them and hear what they have to say, and then draw conclusions.”