Late last week, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability published the House of Representative’s “Authorization and Oversight Plans.” The massive 241-page report is required by the House rules, and the Oversight Committee’s report collects the individual oversight plans that each standing committee of the House is required to create at the start of a new Congress. The report is the most comprehensive collection of the committees’ plans for investigations in the coming Congress.
This year’s report reflects a significant shift in priorities, reflecting the change in control of the House to the Republicans. For example, the Oversight Plan speaks to expected oversight of the Administration’s alleged “collusion” with “Big Tech,” the “politicization” of the federal government, China’s interactions with the American economy and national security, and the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing prevention efforts. A repeated priority throughout the plans is seeking out and minimizing instances of “waste, fraud, and abuse” in government programs, which includes scrutinizing the recipients and use of government funds.
The plans of the four most active oversight committees—Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, and Financial Services—stand out in particular for their focus on the private sector and the way companies interact with the federal government. Other committees, including the Foreign Affairs Committee, have outlined ambitious oversight agendas as well. Of note, the Foreign Affairs Committee has added a Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability “to undertake more complex oversight and investigative activities,” including on issues related to China, the conflict in Ukraine, the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the origins of the pandemic. The Oversight Plan does not include the oversight objectives of the newly created House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, which we explored in a separate alert.
The following summarizes key portions of the Oversight Plan with implications for the private sector and other individuals and entities that routinely interface with government: