Lieberman pledges to look out for federal employees

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., on Wednesday announced that his immediate agenda as chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee will include a focus on quality of life for federal employees. "[Federal employees] are the ones who ultimately determine whether our government will work better for the American people," he said in a press release outlining his committee's agenda. Lieberman replaced Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday. Lieberman's first action as committee chair will be to hold an oversight hearing on high energy prices. But he also pledged to continue the committee's tradition of monitoring waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government and to pursue the "breakthrough possibilities" of electronic government. "If the government is to have adequate resources to improve the lives of all Americans, we must pay particular heed to curbing the problems of waste, fraud and abuse so we can have a federal government that is effective, efficient and ethical," he said. Lieberman will most often use his platform as committee chair to focus on consumer protection and regulatory oversight issues, according to spokeswoman Leslie Phillips. Government observers said last week that Lieberman is unlikely to play as active a role in government management reform issues as his predecessor. However, Lieberman has been a leader in promoting e-government, advocating more funding for interagency e-government initiatives and the creation of a federal chief information officer. Lieberman is pushing these and other proposals in his 2001 E-Government Act. He also pledged to work closely with Thompson. "I look forward to consulting closely with my friend and colleague Sen. Fred Thompson as the committee undergoes a change in leadership. We worked well together during Sen. Thompson's time as chairman, and I'm sure we will do so now," he said.