Most congressional committees earn failing grades on oversight: analysis

Most congressional committees earn failing grades on oversight: analysis
© Greg Nash

The majority of committees in the 117th Congress received failing grades in a report card issued Monday by the Lugar Center.

The grades from the organization founded by former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) reflect the first six months of hearing activity this year and measure oversight functions performed by 34 congressional committees in the House and Senate.

Nineteen panels received an F, while only eight achieved an A mark.


Of the 17 House committees examined, five received an A, two received a C and 10 received an F.

In the Senate, three committees received an A, one received a B, two received a C, two received a D and nine received an F.

The best performing committee was the House Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroAmerican workers need us to get this pandemic under control around the world Democrats press Biden to step up fight against domestic hunger A permanent Child Tax Credit expansion will yield dividends to taxpayers MORE (D-Conn.). According to the Lugar Center's formula, the panel received a score of 184 percent.

It was followed by the Senate Finance Committee, led by Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse panel advances key portion of Democrats' .5T bill Advocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Lobbying world MORE (D-Ore.), with a score of 136 percent, and Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake MORE’s (D-R.I.) Armed Services Committee, at 131 percent.

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees Abortion rights groups want Biden to use bully pulpit after Texas law Overnight Health Care: Democrats plot response to Texas abortion law MORE’s (D-Pa.) Committee on Aging ranked last, with a score of 21 percent.

“In the last Congress, House Democrats did an admirable job of conducting oversight over the government and the Trump administration, while Senate Republicans did a notably poor one,” Lugar Center Policy Director Dan Diller said in a statement.


“In the first six months of this Congress, however, 19 Democratic committee chairs are way behind the usual pace of hearing oversight. Their failure is even more notable given that eight of their colleagues earned our top grade.”

The scores, according to the group, are determined by comparing the overall number of oversight hearing points a committee earned during the 117th Congress to the highest historic performance by that committee over the last five Congresses.

The Lugar Center said it "assigns points to all hearings, but gives much more weight to those of an investigative nature and those that delve into the administration’s execution of policy and legislation."

Committees with scores above 90 percent earned an A, while those between 80-90 percent earned a B and between 70-79 percent earned a C. Panels with a score between 60 percent and 69 percent earned a D and those below 60 percent received a failing grade.

Grades above 100 percent indicate that a committee is on track to achieve a new high for oversight hearings.