Monday, November 27, 2006

Dems Want Investigations

Shocked, I didn't see anything like this coming.
WASHINGTON - The incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is promising an array of oversight investigations that could provoke sharp disagreement with Republicans and the White House.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., pledged that Democrats, swept to power in the Nov. 7 elections, would govern "in the middle" next year. But the veteran lawmaker has a reputation as one who has never avoided a fight and he did not back away from that reputation on Sunday.

Among the investigations he said he wants the committee to undertake:

_The new Medicare drug benefit. "There are lots and lots and lots of scandals," he said, without citing specifics.

_Spending on government contractors in Iraq, including Halliburton Co., the Texas-based oil services conglomerate once led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

_An energy task force overseen by Cheney. It "was carefully cooked to provide only participation by oil companies and energy companies," Dingell said.

_A review of food and drug safety, particularly in the area of nutritional supplements.
I really like the one on the medicare drug benefit. Not naming the issue while declaring it a target of investigation is interesting. It declares that there is something illegitimate occurring without bothering to actually make any concrete claims.

Halliburton is one of those that no doubt is only due to the presence of Dick Cheney in some historical involvement with the company. I wonder if they'll look at the awarding of no bid contracts under the Clinton administration.
Rep. Barney Frank set to lead the House Financial Services Committee, said issues such as raising the minimum wage will be popular, even thought the idea has been identified with liberals.

"In my own committee, the biggest difference you're going to see is we're going to return to try to help deal with the housing crisis that blights so many parts of our country socially and economically," said Frank, D-Mass.

Frank, who in 1987 became the first member of Congress to voluntarily make his homosexuality public, also said he wants to modify the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The current policy prohibits officials from inquiring about the sex lives of service members and requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.
Now why is Frank choosing to fight the "don't ask, don't tell" policy now? Wouldn't this have been a more appropriate fight during the Clinton administration when the policy was enacted? I'm sure it will have a better political posture now, since it will no doubt be used to further vilify Bush even though he didn't enact it and has basically left well enough alone.

It will be an interesting year with all this happening. I'm expecting there is going to be a lot of court cases defending executive privilege in this congress.

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