Representative Darrell Issa, the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has made his views on regulations fairly clear. Earlier this week, for example, he scored headlines when his office gave out a document publicizing the issues his committee will take up. From the document: "The committee will examine how overregulation has hurt job creation..."
No surprise; that's about the line we'd expect from Issa.
But someone in Issa's office must have recognized a problem: Won't the investigations not quite have the same credibility or punch if the investigator himself has already announced his conclusion?
Perhaps that’s why Rep. Issa's spokesman, Kurt Bardella, took a different tack this same week, telling Politico: "Is there a pattern emerging? Is there a consistent practice or regulation that hurts jobs? Until you have all the facts, you really can't make a lot of determinations and judgments."
Note the use of question marks instead of conclusions. Quite a step back. But he better tell his boss, who’s already on the record with his determinations and judgments.
The truth is that Representative Issa seems to be stumbling out of the gate in his new role. He’s already getting skewered for his blustering and assertion that President Obama is “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” When pressed, he walked it back a bit, still without foundation, saying the President led, “one of the most corrupt administrations.”
Clearly Representative Issa is going to get some experience walking backwards.
And when it comes to regulatory matters, he’s going to have to actually demonstrate that the regulatory safeguards for health, safety and the environment that he dislikes, so many of which explicitly passed the cost-benefit standard that his party has championed for years, and all of which are pursuant to laws duly enacted by Congress, aren’t worth it after all. And he'll need to do all of that in the year after the BP Oil Spill, a big salmonella outbreak, and the West Virginia mine disaster.