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Hearings of the
Subcommittee on Rules & Organization of the House

Cooperation, Comity, and Confrontation: Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch

Statement of Congressman David Dreier (R-CA)
Chairman, Committee on Rules

I want to thank Chairman Linder and the panelists for appearing here today to help the House improve its oversight. By examining some of the toughest examples of oversight we are able to learn about and improve the oversight system and that is something we all hope to accomplish today.

Speaker Hastert and I are committed to improving and emphasizing programmatic oversight. That is why we jointly asked the Congressional Research Service to conduct bipartisan oversight training for congressional staff. Two sessions have already been held and the third will be held on July 26. They have been a great success.

In fact, I ask unanimous consent to include our letters to CRS in the appropriate part of the record.

At our first oversight workshop, Lee Hamilton, former Democratic Chairman of the International Relations Committee and the Iran-Contra Committee, addressed the attendees and I ask unanimous consent to include his statement in the record as well. He stated in part:

Oversight is designed to throw light on the activities of government. It can protect the country from the imperial presidency and from bureaucratic arrogance. It can expose and prevent misconduct, and maintain a degree of constituency influence in an administration. The responsibility of oversight is to look into every nook and cranny of governmental affairs. Oversight is designed to look at everything the government does, expose it, and put the light of publicity to it. It reviews, monitors, and supervises the execution and implementation of public policy, to assure that "the laws are faithfully executed."

I wholeheartedly agree with Lee Hamilton. As Chairman of the Committee that is charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the privileges and prerogatives of this esteemed institution, I believe Congress should vigorously conduct oversight in order to fulfill the legacy of our founding fathers – which is ultimately to preserve and protect our fragile democracy.

I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses and yield back the balance of my time.

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