Waxman Returns Oversight Function to Congress

Congressional oversight used to be expected from Congress, regardless of which party controlled Congress and the Executive Branch. When Jimmy Carter was in the White House, the Democratic Congress continued its responsibilities to provide oversight of the Executive Branch. Such oversight functions were destroyed after Congress fell under Republican control. Oversight of Bill Clinton degenerated into investigations of sexual misconduct which did not justify the Republican over-reaction, and oversight of George Bush has been non-existent.

Henry Waxman’s actions to restore Congressional oversight are reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Since he became chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in January, Waxman, 67, has been probing some of the more contentious issues surrounding the administration, including prewar intelligence on Iraq, corruption in postwar reconstruction, White House contacts with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, allegations that administration officials used political party e-mail accounts to conduct government business, and the misinformation surrounding the friendly fire death in Afghanistan of former NFL star Pat Tillman.

Republicans complain that such investigations represent “Bush-bashing” but Waxman just replies, “I believe in government, and I want the government to be effective. I want us to look and make sure that government agencies are doing a good job for the American people.”

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