Oversight: November 16, 2007

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

•House Financial Services Committee: (11/13/07) — Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), along with Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), subcommittee ranking member Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoOvernight Tech: Bill blocking internet privacy rules heads to Trump's desk | Trump taps antitrust chief | Dems push FCC on cellphone cybersecurity Pence pushes Manchin in home state to support Gorsuch GOP govs: ObamaCare repeal bill shifts 'significant' costs to states MORE (R-W.Va.), Reps. Al GreenAl GreenDem claims, without evidence, that some Trump dossier allegations are true Softer Trump storms the Capitol Second Dem to boycott Trump speech to Congress MORE (D-Texas), Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), sent a letter to Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, inquiring about the administration’s plans to address the growing budget and management crisis in HUD’s Section 8 project-based assistance program.

“We write out of concern that recent HUD actions, including late payments and truncated contract funding terms, threaten to have significant negative impact on owner confidence in the project-based Section 8 program,” the lawmakers wrote.

•Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs: (11/14/07) —
Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and ranking member Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Overnight Finance: WH wants to slash billions | Border wall funding likely on hold | Wells Fargo to pay 0M over unauthorized accounts | Dems debate revamping consumer board Lawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities MORE (R-Maine) wrote to Department of Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff asking for details on the DHS’s steps to implement the recommendations that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) outlined in a report criticizing the nation’s traveler inspection system.

The report found that there are still vulnerabilities in U.S. Customs and Border Protection travel inspection procedures that leave the country exposed.

“We must meet our obligation to the American people to prevent dangerous goods and people from entering the country,” the letter stated.

•Senate Committee on Finance: (11/13/07) — Ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Finance: Dems seek probe of acting SEC chief | Defense hawks say they won't back short-term funding | Senate seen as start point for Trump infrastructure plan | Dems want more money for IRS Overnight Regulation: Trump administration lifts Obama freeze on federal coal mining Senators offer bill aimed at helping IRS whistleblowers MORE (R-Iowa) asked top officials for the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to respond to questions about their agencies’ oversight of the marketing of prescription drugs that have not been approved by the FDA and illegitimate billing of the Medicaid program for unapproved drugs.

“In the last year, FDA has taken regulatory action against some manufacturers of unapproved drugs. However … many more unapproved drugs remain on the market,” Grassley wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach and CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems.