Issa to Clyburn: Paranoid Much?

September 29, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Darrell Issa, the Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued the following statement tonight regarding deceptive comments made by House Majority WHIP Jim Clyburn (D-SC) on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews:

“The fact that Jim’s paranoia and imagination have resulted in the resuscitation of this bizarre conspiracy theory is ridiculous and a little goofy.  It’s disappointing that Jim would embrace the politics of fear and continue spreading such misleading and untruthful things in what I can only imagine is an effort to manipulate the American people.  Jim should spend more time fighting for a straight up or down vote on tax relief for all Americans rather than conjuring up bizarre stories about what a Republican Majority would do next year.”

FACT: A Congressional Resolution honoring Hawaii’s 50th anniversary that passed on a 378-0 vote on July 27, 2009 recognized President Obama as a natural born citizen of the state, which is legally binding.  In the text of the bill, it reads:  “Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961.” H.Res. 593 establishes legal precedent that Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States.

Last week, Ranking Member Issa released a report entitled:  “A Constitutional Obligation:  Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch” detailing the type of oversight agenda he has pursued since becoming Ranking Member. Hearings requested by the Republican Minority but ignored by the Democratic Majority include:

  • Food Safety – In 2009, following a salmonella outbreak in a Georgia peanut plant that led to at least 8 deaths and more than 500 illnesses, Ranking Member Issa sent a letter to Chairman Towns requesting a hearing on the federal food safety bureaucracy, citing a GAO report that identified 15 different federal agencies responsible for administering 30 food safety-related laws and noting that “our Committee is uniquely positioned to look at the coordination and cooperation amongst departments and agencies.”  No response to the request was received, and nothing was done to hold the federal agencies accountable.
  • Homeland Security – During the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses, the Committee’s Republican Majority conducted 35 hearings on homeland security matters.  Among other things, these addressed terrorism and cross-agency information sharing, as well as the formation and oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.  Oversight of Homeland Security has been badly neglected over the past two years.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – Despite the role Fannie and Freddie played in the financial crisis and the huge financial stakes for the American taxpayer involved in continuing to prop up these organizations…Oversight Committee Republicans requested a public hearing on Fannie and Freddie but received no response from the Majority.
  • Healthcare Reform Oversight – Attorney General Eric Holder has said himself that every year American taxpayers lose “tens of billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid funds to fraud.”  With government’s increased role in healthcare under the Obama reform, this number is all but certain to increase…Under Democrats, the Oversight Committee refused to investigate waste, fraud, and abuse in government run healthcare and also decided to waive its jurisdiction when the new healthcare reform law came through Congress and refused to hold even a single hearing or mark-up on the legislation.
  • Wasteful Stimulus Spending – The Republican Minority has provided the Democratic Majority with evidence of government agencies wasting stimulus funds on projects of dubious merit that appear to contradict the Administration’s stated goals for stimulus-worthy projects and that therefore are ripe for oversight…The Minority has not yet received a reply from the Chairman.
  • Minerals Management Service – The last time Republicans had subpoena power was in 2006, where as a subcommittee Chairman, Ranking Member Issa used it to compel the testimony of oil executives and expose cozy relationship with the Minerals Management Service (MMS)…it wasn’t until after the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon oil spill that Oversight Committee Democrats agreed to hold a hearing about the troubles of MMS.
  • School Choice – The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) was launched by Congress in 2004, with bipartisan support, to give economically disadvantaged District of Columbia children the chance for a quality education outside of public school classrooms plagued by problems…The Republican Minority has requested a full Committee hearing to examine this program, but did not receive a response.

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