Oversight

House Judiciary Committee (12/17/07) — Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey repeating his request for a Justice Department official to testify Thursday on how federal criminal laws apply to the interrogation of detainees. Several congressional committees are investigating the destruction of videotapes of detainee interrogations by the CIA.

“In light of the importance of the issues surrounding the Department’s investigation into the destruction of the CIA tapes, we expect that the Department will provide a high level official to testify on this subject matter, specifically including the Department’s attempts to forestall legislative or judicial inquiry,” Conyers wrote. Mukasey has asked Congress to hold off on its investigations while DoJ completes its own inquiry.

House Energy and Commerce Committee (12/13/07) — Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach asking for records related to the ability of Institutional Review Boards (IRB) to protect human subjects in biomedical research.

The “misuse of IRB approval in marketing materials may provide consumers with a false sense of security by implying that the devices meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s safety and efficacy standards,” Dingell and Stupak wrote.

The lawmakers are specifically interested in FDA’s records for two devices: the Electro Physiological Feedback Xrroid biofeedback device and the Pap-Ion Magnetic Inductor.

Senate Finance Committee (12/10/07) — Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jim Nussle, asking for the release of regulations related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

“We are aware of that there is also a great deal of interest among state and welfare policy stakeholders regarding the issuance of these regulations,” Baucus and Grassley wrote. “We would appreciate your assistance in expediting their release.” OMB is working on the regulations, which will be executed by the Department of Health and Human Services.