Oversight

• HOUSE EDUCATION AND LABOR COMMITTEE: (07/15/08) — Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) released the results of an investigation that he said showed that the Labor Department was failing to enforce wage and hour laws.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that enforcement actions by the department on wage and hour violations have dropped from 47,000 in 1997 to fewer than 30,000 in 2007.

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“Although the Department of Labor has the necessary tools to fight wage theft, the GAO investigation suggests that the problem of wage theft is only getting worse because of weaker enforcement,” Miller said in a statement.


• SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE:  (07/11/08) — Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) criticized the Bush administration for its decision to “effectively reject regulation of global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act.”

“We now know that top scientists have found that global warming presents a threat to the health and safety of the American people and that the Clean Air Act gives EPA [the Environmental Protection Agency] the tools to protect the public. Special moneyed interests weighed in and, lo and behold, ... the Bush administration has essentially ordered EPA to do nothing to address the danger of global warming.”


• SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: (07/16/08)  — Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and 30 other Democratic senators wrote to Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to express their concern that department policies “do not result in the timely production” of federal lands already leased to oil and gas companies.

“It appears that the policy emphasis of the administration has been on having more lease sales, but we believe that not enough emphasis has been placed on encouraging the diligent development of federal lands once leased,” the senators wrote.

“While it is generally true that leases must be produced within certain time frames, we are concerned that federal agencies are not exercising their substantial discretion in managing these leases to require production in the timeliest fashion.”