Reclaiming the Right to Oversight; GOP-Led House to Revoke Team Obama's Free Pass

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 29, 2010 | Go to article overview

Reclaiming the Right to Oversight; GOP-Led House to Revoke Team Obama's Free Pass


Byline: Reps. Darrell Issa and Fred Upton, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In his January 1989 farewell address to the nation, President Reagan warned, "Man is not free unless government is limited. .. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a

law of physics:As government expands, liberty contracts." Earlier this month, we saw countless Americans heed Mr. Reagan's warning, turning out in droves to cast their vote in defense of liberty.

The new majority in Congress certainly has its work cut out to undo the big-government havoc that was wrought during the Democrats' one-party reign over the past two years. Unemployment hovers just below 10 percent. The role of government in the economy has exploded, and rampant spending has ballooned the debt to nearly $14 trillion, putting our nation on the brink of financial disaster.

Americans now live under laws that force people to buy health insurance under fear of harsh penalty; a litany of regulations pursued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies have given businesses incentives to move jobs overseas; and an army of czars have been appointed by the administration who have broad, sweeping powers and none of the accountability of traditional Cabinet members. This drastic expansion of government and contraction of liberty has occurred without any real oversight from Democrats in either chamber of Congress.

Americans demand accountability, and the House Oversight and Government Reform and Energy and Commerce committees must work cooperatively together in a new Congress to deliver the oversight that is necessary. During the final two years of the George W. Bush administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Oversight Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman eagerly exerted Congress' oversight authority. These oversight inquiries included requests for reams of documents and demands for Cabinet secretaries and agency heads to testify under oath. Programs and executive actions were subjected to close and often openly hostile scrutiny.

We have not seen the same enthusiasm for oversight since the Obama administration has taken the helm. Not surprisingly, the job economy has worsened, government spending is at an all-time high, and federal agencies are rampantly codifying more regulations that further penalize and discourage private investment and the hiring of new employees. Congress' constitutional role as a check on the power of the administration has been lost in the sprint to increase the role of government.

Our Founding Fathers were explicit in demanding that the House of Representatives provide a check on the power of the executive branch. Over the past two years, the Pelosi-controlled Congress has been derelict in this duty, defying the will and expectation of our Founders.

Now that Republicans have recaptured the House, we think it is time for a fundamentally different approach in the defense of liberty. Committees with significant oversight duties must work together to block agencies from freely passing regulations that have no regard or concern for the potential damage to job growth and the economy. …

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