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How Will Rep. Issa’s Prominent Role Impact San Diego?

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gl3PyRAIUc

Video published December 3, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: North County Congressman Darrell Issa has become one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives. The Republican is incoming chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. Issa has pledged to increase scrutiny of the Obama Administration in an effort to cut government spending. How might Rep. Issa's rise to national prominence affect our region?

North County Congressman Darrell Issa has become one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives. The Republican is incoming chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. Issa has pledged to increase scrutiny of the Obama Administration in an effort to cut government spending. How might Rep. Issa's rise to national prominence affect our region?

Guest

John Warren, editor and publisher of San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

WHEN REPUBLICANS WON A MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE ON NOVEMBER SECOND, THEY CHANGED THE CAREER TRAJECTORY AT OF NORTH COUNTY CONGRESSMAN THERE'LL ISA. IT ISN'T A HOUSEHOLD NAME THAT IS BECOMING KNOWN NATIONALLY. HIS PARTY THAT CAME INTO THE INFLUENTIAL ROLE OVER CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMEGOVERNME NT REFORM COMMITTEE. JUST HOW POWERFUL COULD HE BECOME AND WHAT MIGHT THIS MEAN FOR SAN DIEGO? WITH ME AS JOHN WARREN, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER OF SAN DIEGO VOICE AND VIEWPOINT. THE SAN DIEGO PRESS IS CALLING CALLING CONGRESSMAN ISA, ANNOYED OR IN CHIEF AND OTHER SUCH DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES.

HOW IS HE PLANNING TO CARRY OUT HIS NEW POSITION?

PERCEIVES HIS POSITION AS ONE AS OVERSEER OF ALL GOVERNMENT. HE STATED IT ALL BELONGS TO US. HE WANTS TO HOLD 14 HEARINGS A WEEK WITH EACH OF THE SEVEN SUBCOMMITTEES. HE WANTS TO GO AFTER THE ADMINISTRATION AND HE BELIEVES HE COULD MAKE BUDGET SAVINGS AND DO A LOT OF THINGS FROM THAT STANDPOINT. THE REALITY IS, IN HIS POSITION THERE IS NOTHING NEW. THE PARTY THAT IS OUT OF POWER IN TERMS OF THE WHITE HOUSE ALWAYS SEEKS CONTROL OF THE HOUSE TO EXERCISE OVERSIGHT OVER THE PROGRAMS WHERE THE ADMINISTRATION.

IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY BECAUSE WITH THAT CHAIRMANSHIP DOESN'T COME WITH ADDITIONAL DOLLARS OR PERKS TO REACH CONSTITUENCY IN NORTH COUNTY.

HIS PREDECESSORS ALSO CARRIED FORTH HIS ROLE. HOW WOULD THIS MAKE A MORE POWERFUL THAN HIS PREDECESSOR AS? A KIND OF LIMITED THEIR ROLE TO REQUESTING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH BRANCH, HE WANTS SUBPOENA POWERS WERE OTHER EXECUTIVE AGENCIES.

HE WANTS TO GO ACROSS THE BOARD. NOW WHAT THE DEMOCRATS IN CONTROL OF THE HOUSE, THERE WAS MORE MORE ACTIVITY IN TERMS OF OVERSIGHT. CLEARLY WITH DEMOCRATS IN CONTROL THE TERMS OF THE HOUSE AND PRESIDENT OBAMA, AND THE WHITE HOUSE, THERE HAS BEEN LESS ACTIVITY.

BUT THE SUBPOENA POWER IS KEY TO MANDATING THAT PEOPLE COME BEFORE THAT COMMITTEE THEY ARE SENT FOR. AND HE WANTS THE POWER TO BE EXPANDED SO HE CAN GO AFTER ALL KINDS OF AGENCIES, ANYWHERE THERE IS STIMULUS MONEY, ANYTHING WHERE THERE IS SOMETHING ON THE TABLE WHERE HE WANTS TO PULL PEOPLE IN AND LOOK AT THEIR RECORDS AND AND C. WASTE AND ABUSE ACCORDING TO WHAT HE HE SAID.

WHY?

THE CONGRESS STARTED OVERSIGHT BACK IN 1974, DURING THE NIXON WHITE HOUSE.

BECAUSE THE POWER IN PARTY HAS THE TENDENCY TO IGNORE PROVISIONS OR REWRITE REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES TO ACCOMMODATE THEMSELVES, AND THAT'S NOT ALWAYS BUT IS THE WAY THE PROGRAM IS WORKING. SO HERE HE'S TRYING TO SAY THE PRESIDENT IS CORRUPT. HE'S MADE A STATEMENT BEFORE AND WE ARE GOING TO RIDE SHOTGUN. I'VE MADE THE STATEMENT THAT I FIND HIS BEHAVIOR TO BE KIND OF A MIXTURE BETWEEN MCCARTHY IN TERMS OF HIS APPROACH TO GOING AFTER EVERYTHING, AND HITLER, IN TERMS OF, IS ALL MINE AND IF IT'S NOT MY WAY, IT WON'T HAPPEN AT ALL.

THAT IS A PRETTY POWERFUL COMMENT. IF HE'S IN A POSITION OF POWER, WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS WILL BE GOOD FOR SAN DIEGO?

BECAUSE THE POSITION OF POWER TO SPAM THE NATIONAL CONSTITUENCY. IT GOES TO NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW HIM TO JUST LOOK AT THE DOLLARS AND CENTS COMING TO THE CALIFORNIA DELEGATION. HE HAS A BROADER SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY. AND WHILE IT'S A NICE PLUS FOR HIM AND GIVE HIM A MOMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT, HE IS STILL FACING BUDGET CUTS IN HIS OWN COMMUNITY RIGHT NOW AS REPUBLICANS SAY THEY ARE GETTING BACK IN THE HOUSE.

IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE HE SAID HIS GOAL IS TO FOCUS ON PLACES WHERE MONEY CAN BE SAVED. HE'S VERY MUCH AWARE OF THE FINANCIAL SITUATION AND HE'S TARGETED $40 BILLION PER YEAR IN BROAD FRAUD OR WASTE IN MEDICARE, ONE OF THE MOST REVERED PROGRAMS WE HAVE. HOW HARD WOULD THAT BE?

THAT'S AN EXAMPLE OF LACK OF INTEGRITY. WHEN THE PRESIDENT PUSH FOR REFORM, ONE OF THE THINGS HE ANNOUNCED WAS FUNDING OF SOME OF THE NEW PROGRAMS UNDER A LIMITED IMITATING THE FRAUD AND ABUSE AND WASTE THAT THEY WERE BINDING AND MEDICARE. SO WHY MAKE IT CLEAR WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS PERPETUATING WASTE WHEN THE THE PRESIDENT MADE CLEAR HIMSELF THAT THEY WERE IDENTIFYING? HE COULD GO WITH THIS STIMULATION BUT HE HAS TO ALSO ALLOW HOW THE ADMINISTRATION IS ACTING IN GOOD FAITH.

FINALLY JOHN, I WANTED TO BRING IT BACK TO THE LOCAL AGAIN. THE WHOLE IDEA OF HAVING A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS IS SO THAT HE CAN'T REPRESENT US IN CONGRESS, BUT ALSO, SO HE CAN BRING HOME THE BACON. IS THERE NO BACON THAT WE CAN EXPECT HIM TO BRING HOME?

IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING, LITTLE WE WILL INTIMATE AIR MARKS AND THAT'S A WAY TO GET THEM IN THE PORK BARRELS. SO HOW DO WE GET THEM IN SAN DIEGO WHEN THE BACON IS BEING CUT OFF BY HIS OWN PROVIDER AS? SO THEREFORE, HE CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT THERE BEING SOME CONTRADICTION BETWEEN WHAT HE SAYS HE WANTS TO DO AND REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE IN TERMS OF BRINGING MORE HERE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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