Rep. Jason Chaffetz says “misguided decisions” by Washington bureaucrats have undermined local authorities.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz says “misguided decisions” by Washington bureaucrats have undermined local authorities. Rep. Jason Chaffetz file photo

House Oversight Chair Vows ‘New Approach’ to Energy, Environment, Technology

Rep. Jason Chaffetz says “misguided decisions” by Washington bureaucrats have undermined local authorities.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced a reworking of specialties on the House Oversight and Government Reform panel that he will chair when Congress reconvenes later this month, adopting titles that stress energy and the environment over economic issues and jobs, and creating an information technology subcommittee.

“These changes will allow the subcommittee chairs and members to take a new approach to addressing the matters that come before the committee,” Chaffettz said in a statement. “Each of the incoming chairs brings valuable knowledge and experience to the subcommittees they have been selected to lead, and I am grateful for their commitment to bringing vigorous oversight to the federal government.”

Chaffettz has hinted at a new focus on energy and the environment. “Federal policies that restrict access, limit uses, or delay progress harm local economic activity, job creation, and public education,” he says on his website. “Misguided decisions are generally made because Washington D.C. bureaucrats often wield more power than those on the ground. Local and state leaders should not be trumped by out-of-state officials.”

The new structure expands the number of subcommittees from five to six. They are:

Government Operations, chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., will focus on the civil service, federal records, national archives, the Executive Office of the President, the U.S. Postal Service, the Freedom of Information Act, and the departments of Commerce, Treasury, Education, and Labor.

Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will focus on the Health and Human Services Department, health care, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and governmentwide rules and regulations.

Information Technology, chaired by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, will focus on federal IT procurement, cybersecurity, IT infrastructure, emerging technologies and intellectual property.

Interior, chaired by Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., will focus on the departments of Interior, Energy and Agriculture, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.

National Security, chaired by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., will focus on the departments of Defense, State, Justice, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, along with the intelligence community.

Transportation and Public Assets, chaired by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., will focus on the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, along with the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the General Services Administration.

Asked to comment on the coming focus on environmental regulations, EPA press Liz Purchia told Government Executive, “Across the country, citizens want EPA to fulfill its mission, established by Congress, to safeguard clean air and clean water, which are essential building blocks for a strong economy. EPA will continue to carry out President Obama’s directive to take real action on climate change, the most complex energy and environmental challenge we’ve ever faced, by reducing carbon pollution. Under the president’s leadership, we are turning our climate challenge into an opportunity to modernize our power sector, lay the foundation for a low-carbon economy and fuel growth for decades to come.”