Are Issa’s plans too political?

David Gura Jan 6, 2011

Are Issa’s plans too political?

David Gura Jan 6, 2011


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: In this country, Republicans take control of the House of Representatives today. And with that, California Congressman Darryl Issa takes the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Issa’s calling for investigations into what he labels “government hyper-regulation.”

From Washington, here’s Marketplace’s David Gura.

David Gura: Congressman Issa says he wants to hold dozens of hearings this year. He’s listed several targets: The FDA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the commission that investigated the financial crisis, the Defense Department, and the Obama administration. Republican Tom Davis says that’s the chairman’s prerogative.

Tom Davis: You have broad oversight almost over everything.

Davis led the committee for four years, when George W. Bush was president. He got some criticism for not holding enough investigations. He says Issa wants to focus on spending and regulations.

Davis: Business will like these investigations for the most part, because I think what they’re going after is looking at rules and regulations that are hampering business’ authority to expand and create jobs.

After the midterm elections, Issa expanded his committee’s agenda. Critics argue it’s too ambitious, and too political.

Jim Gottlieb: There’s clearly a more aggressive oversight that takes place when the committee is run by a chairman of one party and the administration is held by the other party.

Jim Gottlieb was on the committee staff for 10 years.

Gottlieb: So there clearly is a difference in, at least the tone of oversight.

Tom Davis says Issa has to be aware of that, and he may have to exercise some restraint.

Davis: You have to pick and choose, I think, your subjects very carefully, and you want to be pretty evenhanded in the way it’s presented.

He says a big audience outside a House hearing room will be paying attention.

Davis: The public eventually decides if this is a political witch hunt, or if this is worthwhile.

In Washington, I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

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