Oversight

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


• SENATE COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE: (02/8/08) — Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) wrote a letter to President Bush concerning the transition to digital television on Feb. 17, 2009.

The chairmen explained the importance for American citizens to be prepared for the transition from over-the-air broadcast for television service and stressed that federal agencies should be prepared to help publicize that shift.
Inouye and Dingell also expressed their concern that the current $8 million budget to educate consumers is not enough.

“There are less than 500 days remaining before the end of the DTV transition. If the transition is not successful, millions of Americans who rely solely on over-the-air broadcasts may be left in the dark. We therefore urge you to act expeditiously,” Inouye and Dingell wrote.
   
• HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: (02/12/08) – Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) wrote a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding requesting information concerning the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

Conyers expressed his disappointment in the administration’s refusal to provide documents and other information to Congress relating to surveillance programs. Conyers said he has sent six letters seeking the information since 2005.

Conyers requested, among other things, any documents between entities of the executive branch since Sept. 11, 2001, as well as audio and reports concerning any warrantless surveillance programs. In addition, he asked for conversations and communications monitored under the program.

• HOUSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE: (02/12/08) – Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) asked Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Dale Klein to reject the application of EnergySolutions to import 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste into the United States from Italy for processing and disposal.

“There is no indication in legislative history, nor in the NRC’s regulatory actions, that there was any intention the U.S. would ever become a welcome dumping ground for foreign-generated radioactive waste,” Gordon wrote.