Campaign 2010

Mar 09, 2006


DCCC Press

Mar 9, 2006


Emanuel, Schumer Urge Rubber Stamp Republican Congress to Fulfill Its Oversight Duties

GOP Congress’ Oversight of Bush Pales in Comparison to GOP’s Oversight of Previous Administrations

(Washington, D.C.) – The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a new report today showing that the Republican Congress’ failure to fulfill its oversight duties is responsible for the incompetence that has plagued the Bush administration over the last five years. The report also showed that the GOP Congress’ scrutiny of the Bush White House pales in comparison to the massive oversight the Clinton administration endured.

“The Republicans’ idea of conducting oversight is to put a blindfold on and say ‘see no evil, hear no evil,” DSCC Chairman Chuck Schumer said. “You can’t have a Congress that lives in fear of criticizing the administration because it leads to the incompetent policies that we see today. It’s not good enough to suddenly get religion on oversight when the White House tries to turn our ports over to a country that recognized the Taliban. You can’t talk about oversight six months before Election Day – It has to be an everyday issue and that’s why we need a Democratic Congress.”

“This Rubber Stamp Republican Congress has been inept and irresponsible when it comes to oversight and protecting the American people. It's as if congressional Republicans would rather outsource their oversight duties to Dubai as well,” said Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Chairman of the DCCC. “It's high time that Republicans in Congress joined Democrats in fighting for American families instead of simply hitting the snooze button on their congressional responsibilities.”

The Republican-led Congress has repeatedly refused to hold the Bush administration accountable for its policies. Their failure to conduct oversight has allowed the president to mishandle pre-war intelligence, the passage of the flawed Medicare drug benefit and the response to Katrina. It has also allowed Dick Cheney’s influence of a $7 billion no-bid contract for Halliburton to go uninvestigated and forced Democrats out of policy-making decisions on energy. Meanwhile, the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib and the leaking of CIA agent’s name went uninvestigated by this Congress.

In comparison to their oversight of the Clinton administration, Republicans have done little to hold the Bush administration accountable for its actions. For example, while taking just 12 hours of testimony on the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the Republican-controlled House took 140 hours of testimony on Clinton’s Christmas card list. And while issuing over 1,000 subpoenas investigating Clinton and the Democratic Party, the Republican-led Government Reform committee issued just 11 subpoenas investigating Republicans.

While Congressional Republicans are unwilling to conduct oversight now, they stressed the need for oversight during the Clinton administration. During the Whitewater investigation, over 175 Republicans including Mike DeWine, Conrad Burns, Jim Talent and Rick Santorum supported congressional hearings, stressing the importance of overseeing the President’s actions. But today, these same Republicans refuse to hold hearings on Bush-related matters.

Norman Orstein, a congressional expert at the American Enterprise Institute said, “This Congress doesn’t see itself as an independent branch that might include criticizing an incumbent administration. Meaningful oversight, because it might imply criticism, has been pushed off the table altogether.”

A former Senate Labor committee investigator said that the lack of congressional oversight has hurt the public’s right to know. “Congress has enormous power and it does nothing. It is absolutely the worst situation I have ever seen in my life. Congress shows no inclination to expand the public’s right to know. That’s one of the reasons for government oversight.”

Download the report >>