In the U.S. House of Representatives, new legislation to prepare for and prevent WMD attacks must go through not one, not two, not three, but EIGHT separate committees before it can be enacted—a process that insures it will never become law. In the Senate, when legislators tried to create a single committee with jurisdiction over homeland security the result was a feeding frenzy of parochial Senators who stripped so much from the committee that it wound up overseeing only one-third of the Department of Homeland Security. Oversight of the Department is now split among more than 100 different committees and subcommittees and the result is gridlock.
In 2004, The Heritage Foundation called for simplifying Congress’ role in overseeing the Department. The 9/11 Commission and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission have echoed that conclusion. Now Representative Peter King (R–NY) has called for simplification as well. His bill would ask the Speaker to consolidate oversight of the Department of Homeland Security so that Congress can let the Department function.
Rep. King’s bill should become law. If it doesn’t in this session, the next Speaker of the House should do the job when the 112th Congress meets.
How much longer must American security be held hostage to parochial Congressional pride?