The Honeymoon's Over
Congress might finally be figuring out what it should have been doing for the past five years. The Washington Post has an article entitled Bush’s Fumbles Spur New Talk of Oversight on Hill:
After a series of embarrassing disclosures, Congress is reconsidering its relatively lenient oversight of the Bush administration.
Lawmakers have been caught by surprise by several recent reports, including the existence of secret U.S. prisons abroad, the CIA’s detention overseas of innocent foreign nationals, and, last week, the discovery that the military has been engaged in domestic spying. After five years in which the GOP-controlled House and Senate undertook few investigations into the administration’s activities, the legislative branch has begun to complain about being in the dark.
On Friday, after learning that the National Security Agency was eavesdropping on conversations in the United States, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said that the activity was “wrong and it can’t be condoned at all,” and that his committee “can undertake oversight on it.”
Hopefully this is a sign that the Republicans realize thier failings and we might see some changes:
In an interview last week, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, said “it’s a fair comment” that the GOP-controlled Congress has done insufficient oversight and “ought to be” doing more.
“Republican Congresses tend to overinvestigate Democratic administrations and underinvestigate their own,” said Davis, who added that he has tried to pick up some of the slack with his committee. “I get concerned we lose our separation of powers when one party controls both branches.”
Democrats on the committee said the panel issued 1,052 subpoenas to probe alleged misconduct by the Clinton administration and the Democratic Party between 1997 and 2002, at a cost of more than $35 million. By contrast, the committee under Davis has issued three subpoenas to the Bush administration, two to the Energy Department over nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain, and one last week to the Defense Department over Katrina documents.
It is a sure bet that we will see some changes. With his confession today that he broke the law in authorizing domestic wiretaps without a subpoena, along with the manner in which he tried to hide behind national security concerns, Bush has clearly jumped the shark. Even many Republicans in Congress now realize that unless they begin to do their jobs, and separate themselves from the most disastrous Presidency in American history, they are at risk of losing both houses of Congress.