Reid blocks watchdog legislation
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Voters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday blocked legislation that would bolster access for top agency watchdogs. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFormer Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 Alarm grows over smash-and-grab robberies amid holiday season GOP blocks bill to expand gun background checks after Michigan school shooting MORE (R-Iowa), as well as Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonFauci calls Ron Johnson's AIDS comment 'preposterous': 'I don't have any clue of what he's talking about' Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' It's time to bury ZombieCare once and for all MORE (R-Wis.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Ex-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (D-Mo.), sought unanimous consent to pass legislation that would bolster the independence of agency inspectors generals from the agencies they investigate. 
 
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It would also give inspectors general extra authority to subpoena former and current contractors and require that they publicly release their findings. 
 
Johnson said the push to give agency watchdogs additional authority to compel testimony was because "too often we lose crucial information or have to end an investigation because the bad actor either leaves federal employement or is contractor or grantee."
 
But Reid blocked the request, saying that while he was objecting on his own behalf, "other senators are concerned about it." 
 
Grassley pressed Reid to name who the other senators were, asking: "Why don't these people have guts enough to put in the record their reasons and who they are?" 
 
Reid — who replied "I'm it" — didn't specify what his concerns were and his office declined to comment. 
 
Johnson, however, called Reid's decision "disappointing." 
 
"What is the objection to giving inspectors general the tools they need to provide the accountability, the transparency, to safeguard the American taxpayer money?” he added. "We can’t even hear the reason behind the objection to allowing this very common-sense piece of legislation to pass?"