What can the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigate? Pretty much anything it wants. With Republicans taking over the majority in the House of Representatives, the incoming Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA-49), is set to move forward on an aggressive plan of oversight of the Executive Branch. Hearings are coming. This should be of intense interest to any Reed Smith client with interests affected by government regulation, but especially those affected by the implementation of the recently passed health care and financial reform statutes; our nation's food safety system; the economic stimulus; and efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to address greenhouse gas regulation and related environmental issues - areas where Representative Issa and other Republicans have been most critical. The Public Policy & Infrastructure Practice expects to see a number of Committee hearings in these, and other areas, throughout the 112th Congress. We know that Committee and the expected targets in the White House and at federal agencies are all "lawyering up." Clients with interests affected by government regulation should be paying close attention, as well as taking steps now to participate in the upcoming debate.
Even though the hearings - and subpoenas - will be agency-directed, interested clients will always have the opportunity to offer comment, work with counsel on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee staff, and potentially provide testimony. This represents a particular opportunity to affect policy in areas where Congress has delegated much of the work to be done to the Executive Branch. For example, under Dodd-Frank, we know that agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC") are responsible for implementing more than 500 rules required by the law. It has been widely reported that the Chairman is uncomfortable with the delegation of this degree of power to federal agencies. As a result, we expect to see a parade of officials appearing before the Committee to discuss their efforts to implement Dodd-Frank. And so any client concerned about the reach of this statute would find it in their interest to let the Committee know of their concerns.
The Public Policy & Infrastructure Practice can help develop and implement an effective lobbying strategy for outreach to the Committee. Our experiences include preparing witness testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, in June 2009 for its hearing on the Effective Regulation of the Over-the-Counter Derivatives Market. And our success includes securing legislative language and funding in both the House and the Senate, particularly language in the 2008 "Farm Bill" that delayed the implementation of greater capital requirements for foreign exchange trades to give merchants and dealers the opportunity to respond. We are prepared to help you develop and implement an effective lobbying strategy for the 112th Congress.