Oversight

A weekly rundown of the latest efforts of lawmakers to scrutinize the actions of the executive branch.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee: (7/16) — Calling for the Pentagon to “come clean,” Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.) demanded an investigation into delays in the deployment of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in Iraq.
 
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Biden said repeated requests from troops on the ground for the vehicles have been ignored by the Pentagon, adding that he will include an amendment to the Senate’s defense authorization bill to demand the deployment of the vehicles, which he said would reduce casualties from roadside bombs by two-thirds.

“This excuse about ‘we didn’t expect the war to last this long so we didn’t build MRAPS’ is outrageous,” he said.

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: (7/16) — Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), along with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) sent a letter to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul asking how his department would respond to recent findings on youth abstinence programs.

A recently completed evaluation of U.S.-funded “abstinence and be faithful” HIV prevention programs for youths, commissioned by the Bush administration, found that many failed to serve the needs of young people who are or may become sexually active.

“It appears that some of the programs teach the same lessons regardless of participant age, and many do not adequately train leaders to answer questions about sexuality,” they wrote.

House Financial Services Committee: (7/17) — Three members of the House Financial Services Committee released a letter to Comptroller General David Walker requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a review of Regulation B of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

The members, Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Reps. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), expressed concern with the Federal Reserve’s decision not to amend Regulation B, which prohibits lenders from collecting information on the racial and gender characteristics of non-mortgage loan applicants, and called for the GAO to conduct a review analyzing the merits of amending ECOA.