Vitter Turns to House Partners to Carry Agenda

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 30, 2013. Senator Vitter penned an amendment to nix subsidies for the health care of congressional staffers. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) (National Journal)

Unable as a member of the Senate minority to satisfactorily hit President Obama, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has turned to making House calls, reports E&E (requires subscription).

Vitter is the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, but Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., controls that panel's agenda. So Vitter has taken to working with House Republicans who can call hearings, question administration officials, and put the GOP's energy issues in the spotlight.

Among his partners: House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Science Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.

"Partnering with other members, sometimes our colleagues in House who have the majority, can be an effective way to conduct oversight and make necessary reforms," Vitter said. "Forcing the [Environmental Protection Agency] to be more transparent is certainly a top priority of mine, and I'm using all available tools."

Added an energy lobbyist: "It makes sense to combine forces, coordinate your oversight, and just hammer the hell out of the other side."