Appointments

•House Financial Services Committee (Sept. 7): Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke challenging his rationale on government-sponsored enterprises in relation to the subprime crisis. Frank believes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a much greater potential to be helpful in dealing with the mortgage market than the leaders in the Federal Reserve previously thought.

“I am particularly troubled because the argument you give against increasing the portfolio caps to accommodate some increase in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s role in helping with the subprime crisis seems to me, frankly, to be contradictory in a way in which I have never previously seen in your approach,” Frank wrote.

•House Judiciary Committee (Sept. 10): Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and committee members Reps. Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinOvernight Healthcare: Major insurer expands ObamaCare presence | Charges dropped for Planned Parenthood videomakers FDA explores changes to blood donation for gay men Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense MORE (D-Wis.) and Artur Davis (D-Ala.), along with Commercial and Administrative Law subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), sent a letter to outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales expressing concern that the Department of Justice is refusing to provide relevant documents regarding allegations of selective prosecution in Alabama, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

“The Committee’s investigation into the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 has surfaced substantial evidence that improper political pressure has been brought to bear on the U.S. Attorney corps, and that prosecutors who did not serve the administration political goals were fired ...,” the letter stated.

•House Energy and Commerce Committee (Sept. 7): Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, denounced the Bush administration’s decision to reject New York’s State Plan Amendment (SPA) for its Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“The Bush administration’s mean-spirited campaign to deny health insurance to children should be rejected,” Pallone said. “I am particularly concerned that [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] used its new requirements ... to reject New York’s plan. States like New York need the flexibility to raise the eligibility level in order to meet the healthcare needs of their children.”