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President Trump’s administration has demonstrated a ruthless streak in pursuing government watchdogs in Oversight. From firing the obama administration’s chief ethics official, to sidelining the third inspector general, there are few enlightened individuals who believe that the Trump administration will remain impartial over the next four years.
Although the House is awash with Republican lawmakers, the Senate is where the oversight olympics will take place. Despite the lack of institutional leverage, a few Senators will be looking to show their independence from the president. This could translate to more aggressive oversight from Congress. The House’s Subcommittee, meanwhile, will need to be ready for the media spotlight. A little bipartisan cooperation could go a long way towards publicizing their findings.
Having said that, the Senate is the likely site of the most contested and antagonistic oversight of the Executive Branch during the Trump era. Several GOP Senators have openly feuded with Trump during the last cycle. However, most of the GOP’s remaining Senators will be less likely to join the fray. In addition, a handful of seats in the Senate are up for grabs, particularly the more competitive and influential senate subcommittees. So, the odds are against Republicans doing the right thing and avoiding the wrath of the President of the United States in the name of good government.
One of the more notable things about the Trump administration is that it has demonstrated an unprecedented degree of corruption and misconduct within the federal government. For example, the Administration has engaged in unprecedented levels of foreign infiltration. It also brought to the forefront the influence of industry lobbyists on regulations. To this end, it’s likely that Congress will use oversight powers to demonstrate the intricacies of the Trump Administration’s agenda and to check the bumbling executive. Whether or not this will occur is another matter altogether.
Nevertheless, the Trump Administration has also displayed a willingness to deviate from the obvious, which means that the most important oversight measures may not be the most obvious. If the Trump administration is willing to show the world a few of its most sleazy moves, the resulting public relations nightmare might not be too difficult to avoid. The best bet would be to wait and see.
While the Trump administration has taken the helm of the Federal Government, it has also been plagued by several scandals, including the separation of families, the abuse of taxpayer dollars, and the reversal of Obamacare. Moreover, the administration has failed to follow the most basic rules of the road, such as not appointing real estate interests as members of the Trump team.
Aside from its more than capable incumbents, the GOP has also managed to make some headlines for its more hawkish policies and its brash approach to politics. For starters, it is trying to wrest control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats. Although the GOP is not as far ahead of the Democrats in the popular vote as it once was, it is still a formidable foe in the statehouse.
On the plus side, its newfound allies have taken the sexiest politicians in town to task, a la the recent governor’s race in Arizona. In a political environment where the line between the Democratic and Republican Parties is increasingly blurry, the specter of an impeachable House is an infusion of much needed fresh blood.