Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

Posts in category Government Oversight

Making sure Congress is not outgun...

Making sure Congress is not outgunned

I enjoyed reading the response essays of Will Rinehart, Betsy Hawkings and Berin Szóka. They all make good points and bring valuable facts and ideas to the discussion. On the most macroscopic level, all of us seem to agree that Congress is ill-equipped to oversee, let alone make, good policy on highly scientific or technological […]

William Barr and Congress’ broken contempt po...

William Barr and Congress’ broken contempt power

Last month, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend that the House hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. The 24-16 decision was made along partisan lines. The vote came 19 days after Congress demanded Barr deliver to members an unredacted copy of the Mueller report — which he refused to do. That the committee’s Democrats held […]

Today: Oversight hearing on the Congressional Research Serv...

Today: Oversight hearing on the Congressional Research Service

The House Committee on Administration is holding a hearing on the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at 10am today. The hearing may be viewed online. The CRS is critical to the functioning of Congress. Its analysts and information specialists help congressional staff make policy and oversee the executive and judicial branches. Its importance cannot be understated, and the […]

Want to shrink government? Invest in making Congress smar...

Want to shrink government? Invest in making Congress smarter

Barely one in five Americans approve of the way Congress is operating. It is overwhelmingly clear that Congress needs to do a better job of understanding complex policy issues, being responsive to communications from the American people, and overseeing the 170-some agencies of the executive branch. Thankfully, after decades of institutional decline, Congress is finally taking steps to revitalize itself. In January, the […]

Congress’ tech policy knowledge ...

Congress’ tech policy knowledge gap

“Suppose you were an idiot,” Mark Twain once quipped, “and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” Like Twain, libertarians tend not to think highly of elected officials. We view them as corrupt, in cahoots with interest groups, and obsessed with politicking instead of governing. And, as Twain quipped, dumb. Oh, so, […]

Outsourcing Oversight through Open Government D...

Outsourcing Oversight through Open Government Data

Congress has a big problem when it comes to oversight. The federal government has grown vastly larger over the past century, but Congress has done little to empower itself to keep track. However, thanks to open data, those outside the government now can lend a helping hand. The U.S. Constitution set up a principle-agent relationship […]

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