By our count, nearly half of the standing committees of the House of Representatives are looking at some aspect of the Obama administration that offers at least some whiff of political opportunity. You can't tell the players without our handy scorecard.
It is a constant that the opposition party in Washington will do its best to undermine the efforts of the president. It's been a constant since 1787, not just since 2009. But Republican House leaders have embraced the idea of using their standing committees to scrutinize the Administration with great enthusiasm. Last night, Politico estimated that a third of the body's standing committees had some sort of investigation ongoing. That's low.
There are five issues that we considered in our review: the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, IRS scrutiny of conservative groups, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the FBI's failure to stop the Boston bombings, and the Department of Justice. Of the 21 standing committees, ten are currently looking at one or more of these issues. The number of hearings conducted or schedule on each is as follows:
- Benghazi: 4
- IRS: 3
- Obamacare: 2
- FBI role in Boston: 1
- Department of Justice: 1
Unsurprisingly, the leader in investigations is the Oversight committee, both because of the nature of the committee and because of its chairman's flair for media attention. There's huge political value in a Congressional hearing, of course: calling witnesses, commanding TV time. Redundancy — which of the four Benghazi investigations will yield the breakthrough revelation? — is a feature, not a bug.
For those of you interested in watching the fun unfold, here's a handy, clip-and-save scorecard to each committee and what it's looking at. We compiled the information from a review of each committee's hearing schedule and proposals included in that Politico article.
Oversight (Rep. Issa)
Ways and Means (Rep. Camp)
Agriculture (Rep. Lucas)
Appropriations (Rep. Rogers)
Armed Services (Rep. McKeon)
Education (Rep. Kline)
Energy and Commerce (Rep. Upton)
Ethics (Rep. Conaway)
Budget (Rep. Ryan)
Financial Services (Rep. Hensarling)
Foreign Affairs (Rep. Royce)
Homeland Security (Rep. McCaul)
House Administration (Rep. Miller)
Judiciary (Rep. Goodlatte)
Natural Resources (Rep. Hastings)
Rules (Rep. Sessions)
Science (Rep. Smith)
Small Business (Rep. Graves)
Transportation (Rep. Shuster)
Intelligence (Rep. Rogers)
Veteran's Affairs (Rep. Miller)