Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The GOP Hydra

Well, the joint House-Senate sham investigation of Katrina failures is dead. But two more sham investigations have popped up to take its place. Instead of the single investigation, Republicans will hold separate House and Senate whitewashes.

Democrats who objected to the original congressional hearings are continuing to object, as they should. Democrats objected to the original plan because it was dominated by Republicans and would give no subpoena power to Democrats. That means the Republicans could call to testify anyone they wanted and gather any information they wanted, but Democrats could call no one nor request any information.

Democrats are requesting an independant investigation. Why Republicans are fighting this, I have no idea other than to be able to retain power over what the findings are and what the public hears.

House GOP Scraps Plan for Joint Probe on Hurricane Response

By Mary Curtius, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans signaled today that they have abandoned their plan to conduct a joint House-Senate probe of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

In announcing a joint probe this month, the Republican leadership had said it would be the most efficient way to investigate the administration's much-criticized initial response to the hurricane. But today, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) conceded that he could not overcome Democratic opposition to a joint investigation.

The Democratic leadership has refused to appoint members to a joint committee, citing the lack of equal representation of Democrats on the panel, and the lack of power to issue subpoenas that the majority opposed. Democrats also have insisted on an independent inquiry.

Democratic opposition has left Republicans little maneuvering room for mounting a credible probe. With the joint investigation apparently off the table, Republicans can only hope that Democrats will participate in each chamber's separate investigation. It was far from clear today that Democrats would do that.

(Full Story)

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