USA Today had a good item about Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. As the
October 10, 2007

USA Today had a good item about Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. As the article explained, Waxman wields the gavel very effectively, using the committee’s oversight powers as a successful watchdog should.

And then there’s Waxman’s Senate counterpart: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the same committee, who apparently doesn’t care about doing his job at all. Subscription-only Roll Call had this depressing report today:

Though the two committees have similar investigative powers and mandates to uncover waste, fraud and abuse of government funds, Waxman has held eight hearings on Iraq and contracting abuses this year, while Lieberman has held only one on reconstruction challenges in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

And though Waxman rarely has missed an opportunity to fire off angry letters to the administration over potential waste, fraud, abuse and misconduct among government contractors, Lieberman — along with his predecessor and current ranking member, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — has shown relatively little interest in tackling those issues.

And what of all the contracting abuses that Waxman is scrutinizing? Lieberman said he gets “angry when I hear about fraud or corruption in the spending of American dollars,” but it’s not one of his “priorities.”

A year ago, seeking re-election, Lieberman said this committee was his top priority, and he was desperate to return to the Senate so he could wield the gavel. And now that he has the authority he sought, he’s decided not to conduct any real oversight of the administration at all.

He seems to have desperately sought a chairman’s gavel just for the sake of having it — Lieberman wanted power he had no intention of using. Instead of a Senate Committee on Government Affairs that functions as it should, Lieberman just treads water, using his gavel as a flotation device. It’s an embarrassing waste.

Can you help us out?

For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


New Commenting System

Our comments are now powered by Insticator. In order to comment you will need to create an Insticator account. The process is quick and simple. When registering you will also be presented with the option to tie all your old Disqus comments to your new Insticator account. Please note that the ability to comment with a C&L site account is no longer available.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.