California Rep. Darrell Issa is already eyeing a massive expansion of oversight for next year, including hundreds of hearings; creating new subcommittees; and launching fresh investigations into the bank bailout, the stimulus and, potentially, health care reform.
Issa told POLITICO in an interview that he wants each of his seven subcommittees to hold â€œone or two hearings each week.â€
â€œI want seven hearings a week times 40 weeks,â€ Issa said.
Issa is also targeting some ambitious up-and-comers like Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio â€” all aggressive partisans â€” to chair some of his subcommittees.
He also wants to organize aggressive oversight beyond his committee and plans to refer inquiries to other House panels, drawing even more incoming GOP chairmen to the cause of investigating the executive branch.
â€œAs Clint Eastwood says, a man needs to know his limitations,â€ Issa said in the interview. â€œWith other committees, we have good working relationships. Our committees have some areas of primary jurisdiction, including the federal work force, procurement and the Postal Service. We will take care of our core knitting, but we have very narrow legislative jurisdiction.â€
While he promises an ambitiousÂ â€” and some say confrontationalÂ â€” agenda, Issa is making overtures to the Obama administration: He already has a meeting scheduled with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss stimulus oversight.
But Issaâ€™s specific plans bring a certain reality to what has been known for months: Oversight of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats will be a central purpose for the new Republican House.
To give an idea of how expansive Issaâ€™s oversight plans are, look at the record of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) when he chaired the oversight committee during in the 110th Congress during George W. Bushâ€™s presidency. Waxman held 203 oversight hearings in two years; Issa has signaled heâ€™s prepared to hold about 280 in just one year.
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