Get to Work, Congressman!

According to recent polling, only 15% of Americans think Congress is doing a good job, while 54% say it’s performing poorly. It’s failing in many ways. But it really deserves an “F” for its failure to carry out oversight.

It used to be that regardless of which party held control, Congress conducted tough, probing oversight of the job performance of the President and federal departments. That’s how Congress in the past learned about problems and got the information it needed to pass laws to fix them.

Given the nation’s opioid epidemic, for example, you’d expect congressional committees to be conducting oversight hearings into why the Department of Health and Human Services still hasn’t implemented the recommendations of the President’s commission on opioids. With the President dropping tariff bombs on our trading partners and triggering the threat of retaliatory tariffs on key domestic agricultural sectors, you’d expect congressional hearings to question and push back on the Administration’s strategy. With EPA Administrator Scott Pruit hobnobbing with lobbyists for the coal industry and chemical manufacturers while weakening health and safety protections, you’d expect hearings to probe what’s going on. With Republicans’ failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, you’d expect hearings on such important matters as how to lower insurance premiums, how to improve access to affordable care, and how Medicaid expansion is working.

Our congressman, Jim Jordan, chairs an oversight panel that could, and should, be looking into some of these key issues. But he’s not!

Does he think they aren’t important? Is Jim too busy, even with an opioid epidemic ravaging Ohio communities, to make that issue number one?

Jim’s failure to conduct oversight on key national issues affecting his district shows how Congress has changed under Republican leadership. Members like Jim Jordan now act as though their main job is to prop up the President and his Administration, no matter what the chief executive or his appointees do. So, despite his responsibility as an oversight subcommittee chair to oversee federal health issues, Jordan’s failed to convene hearings on important issues like the opioid crisis, access to affordable health care under Republican legislation, and the performance of the VA health care system (which has gone without an Under Secretary to run the system since the President took office).

Make no mistake, Jim is zealous, but not about those issues. Just watch cable news, where he’s a regular in the thick of a desperate fight to attack those he sees as the President’s adversaries. But is that what voters sent him to Congress to do? The President has a team of lawyers. He has Hannity and other powerful media allies with a national microphone. He has a huge White House staff. Why is Jim Jordan acting like the quarterback of a White House support team?

Actually, quarterbacks have to play by the rules, while Jordan’s been making up rules of his own. Recently, he met with and actually threatened Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with impeachment if he didn’t release documents obtained in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. That’s outrageous, and crosses a red line! In demanding documents pertaining to an active criminal investigation, Jordan risks compromising that investigation. Of course, it’s clear that that’s exactly Jordan’s goal. Just as it’s clear Jordan has no respect for the rule of law, when it gets in his way.

Whether Republican or Democrat, elected representatives should be working full-time to help ensure the health and well-being of their constituents.

It’s shocking to see my congressman instead pursuing a near-full-time agenda of battling current and former FBI and Justice Department officials, and working to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation!

Congressman Jordan, the President seems now to be fully lawyered-up. It’s long past time for you to step down from his defense team, and start paying attention to your constituents and the job to which you were elected.

Janet Garrett3 Comments