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As a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, John Yarmuth apparently has a front-row seat to one of the most bitter clashes in the current congress.
The division stems from disagreements between chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (MD). We talked to Yarmuth about this when he was appointed to the committee.
Democrats say that Republicans are actively withholding committee documents. For example, Democrats want Republicans to fork over letters Issa solicited from trade associations on what the GOP dubs “harmful regulations.” Issa’s staff is reviewing and analyzing the information, and will make them available Feb. 11. That wasn’t good enough for Cummings and his staff, so they sent a letter to industry asking for information identical to what Issa requested.
While a lot of this seems like petty bureaucratic infighting among committee partisans, it could have a real affect on major committee investigations into the Obama administration, stimulus oversight and other areas Issa has targeted.
Former Congressmen Lee Hamilton and Ron Mazzoli discussed statesmanship on State of Affairs Tuesday. The conversation touched on the roles the media and the two-party system play in encouraging divisive politics and heated rhetoric.
Current Congressman John Yarmuth, outgoing Secretary of State Trey Grayson and U of L professor Jasmine Farrier discussed similar issues Monday, and had slightly different takes on a few of the points made on State of Affairs.
Third District Congressman John Yarmuth discussed his appointment to the House Oversight and Government Reform committee last week. Yarmuth said he was hoping chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) would back off from his aggressive plans to investigate the administration. Yarmuth also said oversight is necessary; the committee can’t be a rubber stamp for the administration, but a repeat of the mid 90s or glutting the system with subpoenas isn’t the way to do that.
Yarmuth was not as outspoken on the issue as the committee’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland. Cummings sent Issa a letter earlier this month, encouraging the chairman to restrain himself and not issue subpoenas unilaterally.
Cummings also accused Issa of withholding documents, which Issa denies. It all adds up to observers calling this a “terrible start” for the powerful and important committee.
University of Louisville hosted a panel on political discourse Monday. Congressman John Yarmuth, outgoing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and political science professor Jasmine Farrier were all on the panel, which was convened in response to calls for civil debate after the shooting in Arizona.
You can listen to the entire discussion here. (mp3) It’s long, but very interesting. The panelists weighed in on divisive media, shifts in political behavior and a number of other topics.
I talked with Congressman John Yarmuth about his appointment to the high-profile Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Of Chairman Darrell Issa, Yarmuth said:
“When you have a chairman who has gone on the record and said publicly that he thinks the Obama administration is the most corrupt administration in history and that he plans to aggressively pursue investigations. That, to me, reeks of witch hunt potential.”
Third District Congressman John Yarmuth has been named to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His office says the appointment positions Yarmuth “to evaluate the federal government’s efforts on issues ranging from the housing crisis and regulation of the financial industry to implementation of the new health care law and programs to revitalize our economy, to national security and our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The oversight committee has been talked about quite a bit lately, with chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) planning to hold “hundreds of hearings” to challenge the Obama administration.
Third District Congressman John Yarmuth is on the House Budget Committee. He has introduced a bill to the panel that would reverse a rule change that gives the budget chair the option to exercise significant power.
Congressman John Yarmuth talked with reporters on Saturday afternoon about the shooting spree that led to several deaths (six at the time of this post) and left Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords critically injured.
WFPL’s Rick Howlett has the story. His piece mentions that this violence may change the way Yarmuth (and other members of Congress) hold public events. As for the role of political rhetoric in inspiring the shooting, Yarmuth says that discussion is very premature. And NPR’s Ken Rudin offers these words about such speculation:
What is also unsurprising, but regrettable, is that everyone is ascribing a motive for the shooting without any credible information.
The Internet and the Twitterworld have been filled with speculation on why she was shot: that she was too liberal and was shot by a Tea Party conservative. Or that she was too moderate and shot by someone on the left.
All we know is that the shooter is under custody. No statement has been released, no motive revealed.