House Republicans are set to expand the subpoena power of a number of Committee Chairman in an effort to put more pressure on the Obama Administration and the various departments under investigation, a move one Democrat staffer said was tantamount to “exporting the Issa model to the rest of the House.” That comment refers to the power California Republican Darrell Issa wielded as Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during investigations into “Operation: Fast and Furious” and the IRS scandal.
The change means that, in a break from years of tradition, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) wouldn’t need to consult with his panel’s top Democrat before subpoenaing documents or witnesses about issues like Obamacare or the Environmental Protection Agency. The GOP is also proposing similar boosts in authority for Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), whose panel’s jurisdiction includes the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law, and for Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who will oversee any probes into immigration.
Two other panels — Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology — are considering making the same change. And in a similar move, the House passed a rules package last week that gave the energy, science, finance and Ways and Means committees the power to let their counsels hold depositions in private.