The House and Senate committees on government operations have some of the most broad-ranging authority in Congress. That doesn't mean you're going to see aggressive investigations coming out of both sides, however.Player
: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
: Chair, Committee on Government Reform
In the 110th Congress, the House Committee on Government Reform will be chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). His zeal for investigations for legendary. Even from the minority he pursued malfeasance within the administration: he created an online database
of Bush officials' on-the-record assertions about Iraq, challenged RNC leader Ken Mehlman about taking U2 tickets from Jack Abramoff, probed the administration's obsession with secrecy and fought against corruption in Iraq contracting.Player
: Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT)
: Chair, Committee of Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
As Waxman's Senate counterpart, Lieberman has remained largely quiet by comparison. "Issues like Halliburton have been sitting there like an 800-pound gorilla, and the committee has ignored it for years," a Senate Democratic aide said of Lieberman's committee to CQ reporter Patrick Yoest last month. Yoest noted Lieberman's "chumminess" with the panel's chair, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). "[S]ome critics find [it] all too close and all too sweet," he wrote.
To Lieberman's credit, following the government debacles after Hurricane Katrina, he and the committee went to work uncovering what went wrong. He even bared his teeth at the White House, accusing it of leading a cover-up.
Still, expectations are being tempered for what Lieberman might attempt from his chair. By contrast, Waxman is expected to be one of the lead chairmen pursuing investigations into the administration.