Darrell Issa, the California Republican who recently called the Obama administration one of the "most corrupt" in recent history, is asking America's business titans which Obama regulations are inhibiting job growth, Politico reports. Issa sent letters last month to over 150 trade associations, companies, and think tanks in which he solicited lists of existing and proposed regulations he should investigate and elements of the rulemaking process he should reform in his new position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Issa's form letter noted that the 43 major new regulations announced by federal agencies in 2010 cost $28 billion, "the highest single year increase in estimated burden on record, resulting in thousands of lost jobs." Darren Goode, who reported on Issa's correspondence for Politico, noted in an interview that the business community, in responding to Issa, is focusing on President Obama's health care bill and EPA regulations like greenhouse gas controls on power plants and refineries.
Issa's mailing list didn't include bloggers, but when has that ever stopped them from weighing in?
- This Is Not What the Tea Party Voted For, argues Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly: "As far as the Republicans' 'Tea Party' base is concerned, the new GOP majority is about some kind of economic populism, and a break with entrenched special interests. Issa is offering change, but it's the kind of change in which wealthy and powerful business leaders effectively give Congress instructions on what to do."
- Conservatives Make 'Regulatory Capture' Worse, states Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress:
The phenomenon of "regulatory capture" wherein private interests seize control of the policymaking apparatus for their own interests is a real one ... One of the biggest flaws with the conservative movement in America, and thus one of the biggest impediments to making American public policy better, is that instead of using its acute awareness of this problem to focus on ameliorating it, conservatives consistently act to deliberately make it worse.
- This Is Part of Issa's Ambitious Agenda, observes Philip Rucker at The Washington Post. Issa will lead six investigations in the first three months of the year, he notes:
Issa, who will have power to subpoena government officials to appear before the committee, said he intended to conduct inquiries into the release of classified diplomatic cables by Wikileaks; recalls at the Food and Drug Administration; the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's failure to identify the origins of the meltdown; as well as business regulations and alleged corruption in Afghanistan ...
Every turnover in Congress fuels anticipation about how the new majority will scrutinize the administration. In Issa's case, the combative Republican has tempered his partisan rhetoric recently and appeared to steer clear of undertaking investigations that could be seen as overtly political. But his ambitious agenda sets up a potential early showdown between the White House and emboldened House Republicans.
- And Congress Is Finally Doing Its Job, contends Jennifer Rubin, also at The Washington Post. House Republicans, she says, are "ferreting out the ramifications of Obama's policy choices and assessing whether the administration has really fulfilled its commitments." Rubin adds that "if Republicans can avoid the temptation to delve into moot issues and focus on larger issues of governance they can improve their image and advance their agenda, which is based on the premise that liberal statism does more harm than good."
- Issa's Investigations in General Are Empty, argues Michael Tedesco at Comments From Left Field:
I don't see a single "scandal" that if rooted out by Issa will either be a game changer for Republicans in 2012 or ... will help the state of our Union by improving the economy, creating jobs, [getting] us out of Afghanistan sooner or [improving] our national security ... This is nothing short of a sideshow meant to keep the FoxNEWS viewing audience entertained between now and the 2012 elections.