Issa sees broad focus for oversight committee

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the new ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, expects the committee will focus on a range of topics, including procurement and contracting issues, cybersecurity, and financial bailouts.

“We need to reform the broken parts of government," Issa told Federal Computer Week recently. "We are not chastising the new administration, and not chastising the old one. Old problems have not been resolved.”

Issa hopes to work in a bipartisan fashion with Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y). the committee's chairman. However, he is also prepared to start investigations independently.

“The minority has to be prepared to go it alone if it cannot encourage the majority to go with them," Issa said. "So far, I am optimistic about a need for joint action. If we do our job well, we’ll be so busy that neither one of us will be on our own."

Cybersecurity, financial services and health care should take roughly 10 percent each of the committee’s resources, Issa predicted. Monitoring federal procurements and contracting may require a larger commitment, he added.

“With contractor-related oversight, that might be an area for more than 10 percent [of committee resources] because it breaks down into more than one area,” Issa said.

“There is no question that America is dependent on outsourcing and contractors, and time and time again we see that we don’t oversee our contractors well,” Issa said.

“These are day-to-day issues: Do we have a sufficiently professional workforce and retention capability where we really own our federal workers, or do we have a revolving door?”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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