New House Oversight & Government Reform committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (above) cleaned house as the 114th Congress opens shop this week. More than half of members on the committee will be new, and nine of the 24 Republicans on the panel will be freshmen reps, according to a report in Roll Call. Though new members of the committee were sworn in yesterday, their names will not be officially released for some days, according to a committee spokesperson.
Subcomittee heads have been identified, however, and Mark Meadows (R-NC) will serve as chairman of a newly conceived government operations group that will oversee postal issues, as well as commerce, treasury, Freedom of Information Act, education, and labor and civil service. Meadows was one of a number of Republican congressmen who voted for Tea Party favorite Dan Webster (R-FL) to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House this week. He is also an opponent of Obamacare, who warned retirees over the holidays that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services might give them a “Christmas Surprise” and automatically pick their new plan for them with no knowledge of their medical histories.
In a press conference this week, Chaffetz told reporters that turnover was good. “Sometimes you just want a different approach,” he said, adding that he was hoping to institute a more collaborative approach with committee Democrats.
As concerns postal issues, former committee chairman Darrell Issa had an openly contentious relationship with Democrat members, especially Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, an ex- president of the Iron Workers Union who sympathized with concerns of postal worker. In a hearing on postal innovation last May, Issa noted that “Mr. Lynch is never going to be my partner in anything that’s going to make the Post Office more efficient, because that will reduce labor.”
Postal service overhaul is one of the chief issues on which Chaffetz hopes to bring his more positive approach to bear, he said, along with Obamacare oversight and the Environmental Protection Agency.