Oversight Galore In New Congress | January 10, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 2 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 2 | p. 4 | News of The Week
Issue Date: January 10, 2011

Oversight Galore In New Congress

Politics: Republicans taking control of House vow close scrutiny of federal actions
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: Congress, House of Representatives
Boehner takes the gavel and charge of the House.
Credit: Newscom
Boehner takes the gavel and charge of the House.
Credit: Newscom

Even before the 112th Congress was sworn in last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives made clear their intent to provide rigorous oversight of government activities—from recalls by FDA, to greenhouse gas emissions regulations by EPA, to programs contained in the reauthorization of the America Competes Act.

The watchdog fervor, expected to give rise to a flurry of investigations, is part of the GOP’s pledge to cut federal spending and to identify and change programs and regulations that Republicans believe kill jobs.

To help with the latter objective, House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Chairman Darrell E. Issa (R-Calif.) sent letters last month to 150 trade associations, companies, and think tanks asking them to identify regulations that negatively impact job creation. Numerous chemical companies and trade groups received letters and are expected to respond.

For instance, a spokeswoman for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates says SOCMA received Issa’s letter. After canvassing its membership of custom and specialty chemical companies, the trade group plans to identify problematic regulations such as EPA’s final rule on the definition of solid waste and the agency’s rule on maximum achievable control technology for boilers.

House committees have also announced oversight investigations to improve government accountability, reduce excess spending, and remove economic stumbling blocks. Issa announced that his committee will tackle six major investigations—including a look at recalls by FDA—in the next three months. The Science & Technology Committee pledged to scrutinize the programs authorized by the just-signed-into-law America Competes Act reauthorization, and the Energy & Commerce Committee vowed to investigate EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases.

“EPA has its foot firmly on the throat of our economic recovery,” Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred S. Upton (R-Mich.), said in a statement. “We will not allow the Administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate.”

“Our aim will be to give government back to the people,” said the newly elected Speaker of the House, John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

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