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Wednesday, March 2, 2011 

Waste, hypocrisy, a reality check, and fail from Issa


~ One of the earliest concerns about Issa's plans for 'a hearing a day' was that all those document requests would eat up large amounts of staff time. Specifically, that if Issa ended up consistently going fishing, he would create the sorts of efficiency problems he was trying to find. Against that backdrop is recent news that the Department of Homeland Security tasked a 21-person team to handle document requests from Issa.
~ That DHS request centers on Freedom of Information Act requests, where Issa has been trying to expand disclosure practices. Issa may either not remember or care, but ThinkProgress was good enough to remind us that up until now, Issa has not been much of a FOIA fan.
~ At the center of Issa's focus in his first few months on the job, the EPA this week released a report strongly defending its record:
Cutting ozone pollution using the Clean Air Act will have saved $2 trillion by 2020 and prevented at least 230,000 deaths annually, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a report.
Tougher emission restrictions adopted in 1990 helped avoid more than 160,000 premature deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, 13 million lost work days and 1.7 million asthma attacks last year, according to today’s report, which measured only the impact of amendments from 1990. By 2020, complying with the amendments would prevent 200,000 heart attacks, 17 million lost work days and 2.4 million asthma attacks, according to the report.
~ Politico asks, "Does industry cry wolf on regs?" Short version, if you don't want to read the article, is that historically, yes. Yet the hearings will undoubtedly continue.
~ Over the weekend, Issa published an OpEd in the conservative Washington Times declaring that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama are plotting to shut down the government by not accepting the budget submitted by the Republican House of Representatives. The thing is, Speaker John Boehner opened the bill to unlimited amendments, which opened the floodgates for House Republicans to load it up with pet issues. As a result, "the funding bill now tells the EPA that it cannot regulate greenhouse gases; it tells the FCC that it may not implement net- neutrality regulations; it cuts funding from Planned Parenthood; and, perhaps most critically, it blocks money needed to carry out health care reform." Just as the House Republican price for keeping the federal government open for business.
Issa, for his part, focused on more specific things in his amendments. Like "menopause, condoms, malt liquor and video games."
~ Former Oversight chair Henry Waxman was reserved in comment, but not so far impressed by Issa's tenure. "He's not gotten off to a good start," Waxman said, "and he's got to figure out how to make corrections in his own operation."


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