WASHINGTON, March 7 -- Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. (4th CD), issued the following weekly message:
A common concern I hear from many Central Washington residents is the direction that this White House is headed. Like you, I have serious concerns about the ongoing abuse of power by President Obama. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to provide robust oversight of the president and his administration. In a divided government, where Democrats control the Senate and presidency, it is more important than ever that House Republicans hold the administration accountable for following the law of the land and operating within the boundaries of the Constitution.
Although President Obama promised the "most transparent administration in history" and claims "an unprecedented level of openness," the reality is starkly different from his rhetoric. In 2013, House committees held over 1,300 hearings and conducted investigations that are still ongoing into matters including the targeting of Americans by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for their political beliefs, the terrorist attack that killed four Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the "train wreck" rollout of Obamacare. As a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I have had the opportunity to participate in a number of oversight hearings and demand answers from Obama Administration officials on these and other key issues.
After allegations surfaced that the IRS targeted Americans for their political beliefs, top officials first denied it was happening and then blamed it on the actions of "low-level" bureaucrats. However, House committees uncovered that senior White House officials were ultimately responsible for the unfair targeting and discrimination of Tea Party and other conservative groups. Just recently, Lois Lerner, the former director for the IRS division that improperly targeted these groups, appeared before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee for the second time but she refused to answer questions by exercising her Fifth Amendment rights. We will continue our probe of the IRS to get answers for this abuse of power and prevent it from happening again.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee is conducting an extensive two-year investigation on how terrorists were able to breach the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. The committee exposed a deteriorating situation in Libya and that embassy employee's pleas for additional security were ignored. The investigation also uncovered efforts by top Obama Administration officials to downplay the terrorist attack as a spontaneous protest gone awry, directly contradicting State Department accounts from the night of the attack. House committees are continuing their exhaustive search for answers surrounding the attack and the lack of a strategy for confronting growing threats posed to U.S. personnel serving overseas.
From a broken website to the cancellation of millions of Americans' health insurance plans, seven House committees have held over 40 hearings on the train wreck rollout of Obamacare, placing every aspect of the president's signature law under the microscope. As we move into 2014, American families and small businesses across the nation are beginning to feel the harmful effects and unintended consequences of Obamacare, while the president adds to the uncertainty by changing and delaying the law on a weekly basis with no input from Congress. The House will continue to demand accountability for Americans suffering from Obamacare exchanges that still do not work as they were promised and will ensure that the president follows his signature law.
Under Republican leadership, the House of Representatives will continue to fulfill its Constitutional oversight duties by demanding timely and honest answers about the actions of their government that the American people expect and deserve. I remain committed to holding the Obama Administration responsible for their overreaching actions.
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