Occupation On The Home Front

Welcome to Bizarro Congress. The past six months have been stuffed chockfull of triumphs and disappointments for the Democratic Party: bills denouncing the Iraq War, bills prolonging the Iraq War, bills calling the troops home, bills providing the funds to keep the troops in Iraq for up to three more years. The strange news? They’re all the same bill.

by Maya Schenwar

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Congress must reassert the balance of powers

The White House, by proclaiming that it will not let the Justice Department pursue contempt charges against a former White House official who failed to comply with a congressional subpoena for information regarding the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, has declared the executive branch to be superior, rather than co-equal, to the other two branches of government. Congress must look for other avenues of redress to protect its oversight role.

Published in: on July 25, 2007 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Pentagon criticized for armor contracts

The Defense Department put U.S. troops in Iraq at risk by awarding contracts for badly needed armored vehicles to companies that failed to deliver them on time, according to a review by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

Published in: on July 12, 2007 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bush denies Congress access to aides

President Bush directed former aides to defy congressional subpoenas on Monday, claiming executive privilege and prodding lawmakers closer to their first contempt citations against administration officials since Ronald Reagan was president.

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Judiciary Committee Schedules Hearing on Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power

House Judiciary Committee to Address Presidential Clemency Power

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. announced that he will be holding a full committee hearing next week titled, “The Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials.” The hearing will be held next Wednesday, July 11, at 10:15 am in the committee’s hearing room, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

Published in: on July 4, 2007 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dems Call White House Out on Subpoenas

Democrats Give White House 10 Days to Explain Invocation of Executive Privilege

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Congress Needs to Stop Playing in Bush’s Court

There are two ways to look at the growing confrontation between Congress and the White House over access to information.

Published in: on June 29, 2007 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Senate Judiciary Committee Authorizes Subpoenas For NSA Domestic Spying Documents

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-3 to authorize chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to issue subpoenas for documents related to the NSA warrantless surveillance program.

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

U.S. Pays Pakistan to Fight Terror, but Patrols Ebb

­ The United States is continuing to make large payments of roughly $1 billion a year to Pakistan for what it calls reimbursements to the country’s military for conducting counterterrorism efforts along the border with Afghanistan, even though Pakistan’s president decided eight months ago to slash patrols through the area where Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are most active.

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 12:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Rebuilt Iraq Projects Found Crumbling

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

Published in: on April 29, 2007 at 12:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Congress Repeatedly Asked Pentagon for Delayed Report on Iraqi Readiness

Despite repeated requests from a House committee chairman and government investigators, the Pentagon has failed to hand over its official assessments of the readiness of US-trained Iraqi security units to take over key functions from the US military.

“Congress must have this information in order to carry out its constitutional oversight responsibilities,” Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said in a letter.

Published in: on April 3, 2007 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

CIA Leak Hearing: 20 Different Disclosures Of Plame’s Covert Identity By White House, State Dept. Officials

Chart as Displayed During Today’s Congressional Oversight Hearing During the Testimony of the Outed CIA Agent…

REP. PAUL HODES (D-NH): Let me ask you, looking at this chart, are you surprised that so many people had access to the classified information about your CIA employment?

MS. PLAME WILSON: Yes, I am, Congressman. And I’m also surprised at how carelessly they used it. (Chart provided)

Published in: on March 20, 2007 at 12:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Will Democrats Finally Play Hardball?

The Republicans outmaneuvered the Democrats again in blocking a Senate debate on a mildly worded non-binding resolution criticizing George W. Bush’s Iraq War escalation.

But the Democrats have other areas where they could exercise oversight and demand accountability from senior White House officials.

For instance, if Plame-gate special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald doesn’t indict Vice President Dick Cheney in a criminal cover-up, the time may have come for hardball congressional hearings on Cheney’s role — and Bush’s.

Published in: on February 7, 2007 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

House Panel Questions Monitoring of Cash Shipped to Iraq

A House committee report on Tuesday questioned whether some of the billions of dollars in cash shipped to Iraq after the American invasion — mostly in huge, shrink-wrapped stacks of $100 bills — might have ended up with the insurgent groups now battling American troops.

Published in: on February 7, 2007 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cheney’s Son-In-Law Blamed for Delaying Investigations of Homeland Security Department

The Department of Homeland Security refuses to cooperate on oversight activities, according to testimony offered today by GAO Comptroller General David Walker and Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner.

Published in: on February 7, 2007 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Senators Assert Right to Block Bush on Iraq

“I would respectfully suggest to the president that he is not the sole decider,” Mr. Specter said. “The decider is a joint and shared responsibility.”

Published in: on January 30, 2007 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Conyers and Feingold Announce Judiciary Hearings on Bush Admistration Policy

Is this “The Year of Accountability”?

Published in: on January 25, 2007 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Incoming Chairmen Ready to Investigate

Democratic-Led Panels to Probe Administration’s Actions in War and Counterterrorism

Published in: on December 17, 2006 at 12:19 am  Leave a Comment