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White House Is Thrilled about House Oversight Committee

Over the course of U.S. history, there have been about 11,000 people who served in the House of Representatives. You would have to review many years' worth of rosters to find three members less appropriate to serve on the House Oversight Committee than Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Naturally, they have all been seated on that committee, thanks to the machinations of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The job of the Oversight Committee, per its own website:

Our mission statement is to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government and all its agencies. We provide a check and balance on the role and power of Washington—and a voice to the people it serves.

That's a brand new mission statement, put in place since the Republicans took the majority. The grammar is... shaky, to say the least (for example, the word "statement" should not appear, and the phrase "check and balance on the role and power" is just a mess). In case you are interested, here is the counterpart from last year, when the Democrats were running the show:

The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. It has authority to investigate the subjects within the Committee's legislative jurisdiction as well as "any matter" within the jurisdiction of the other standing House Committees.

We have no complaints about the grammar in this one.

Regardless of whose mission statement you prefer, the job of the Committee is right there in the name: Oversight. And everyone already knows that the House Republican Conference plans to interpret that as "let's spend lots of time and energy looking for skeletons in the closet of Joe Biden and other Democrats." Undoubtedly, Boebert, Gosar and Greene can't wait to get started.

The White House, meanwhile, is pleased at punch at the fact that the Three Nutskateers have been appointed to the Committee. At first glance, that might seem counterintuitive, but it actually makes all the sense in the world. Since House Republicans are going to investigate Joe Biden six ways to Sunday anyhow, often for things based more in fantasy than in reality, the best (and maybe only) response is to frame the investigations as partisan nonsense propagated by the nuttiest elements of the MAGA crowd. And framing things in that way is all the easier if the Committee is populated by, well, the nuttiest elements of the MAGA crowd.

House Democrats are not as certain that this will work to the Party's advantage, since Republicans have had pretty good luck in the past couple of decades using the Oversight Committee to muddy the waters for Democrats (e.g., Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton and the e-mails, Barack Obama and Solyndra, etc.). Of course, it could be that both assessments are correct. That is to say, House Democrats might be right that a weaponized Oversight Committee is going to do some damage to Biden, while the White House might be right that the presence of people like Boebert, Gosar and Greene will serve to significantly reduce that damage. (Z)

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