Over the next week, the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States will be the story you’ll hear about over and over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with that – the Presidency is a big deal. Irregular Times will have a couple of people at the Inauguration, leading a Pro-Constitution Inauguration Demonstration.
There’s a lot more going on in Washington D.C. right now other than the Inauguration, however. In Congress, there’s a remarkable shift underway as the Democratic leadership prepares to deal with a Democratic President.
For some insight into the dimensions of this transition, look at a speech given yesterday by incoming chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Edolphus Towns. Representative Towns is replacing Henry Waxman, who has gone over to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
(The House Energy and Commerce Committee is having a meeting this morning focusing on how to deal with climate change.)
In his speech, Congressman Towns identifies the following as areas of focus for the Oversight and Reform Committee:
- Ending the “era of secrecy”
- Presidential records access
- End corruption of unrestricted Presidential library donations
- Procurement and contracting reform
- Online public contract and grant review
- 2010 census accuracy
- Inspectors General reform
- Defense contract audits
- Tennessee coal ash spill
- Troubled Asset Relief Program (translation – $700 billion dollar bailout fund)
- Energy reform
- Broadband expansion
- Healthcare reform
- Food safety and FDA reform
- Medical technology
What’s missing here? How about oversight and reform of the unconstitutional programs left over as a legacy from George W. Bush – programs like secret prisons, government eavesdropping on American citizens, and government-funded religious programs?