Most of the Republicans in Congress still grab their ankles and grit their teeth when Karl comes into the room. But that’s slowly changing:
After years of deferring to the Bush White House, the Republican-controlled Senate has begun pushing back, holding oversight hearings on topics ranging from President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina to his administration’s mine-safety record and the president’s secret domestic-surveillance program. …
unlike during Bush’s first term, the Senate is demanding answers:
-A Senate Appropriations subcommittee had sharp words Monday for federal mining safety officials, blaming improper enforcement of regulations for the recent deaths of 14 miners in West Virginia. Two hours into the hearing, the acting head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, David Dye, left despite requests from subcommittee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., that he stay and answer further questions.
-Federal agencies have refused to turn over documents about their communications with the White House related to Hurricane Katrina to two congressional committees that are investigating the federal response to the disaster.
-Specter has scheduled hearings for Feb. 6 on whether the president was legally permitted to authorize wiretaps in the United States without court warrants. The administration has mounted an effort to portray those who question the legitimacy of the program as out of touch with the realities of post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism.