E&C GOP Chairs Lay Out Expectations for Biden Agency Cooperation
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Jeff Duncan (R-SC) wrote to the heads of the Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Department of Commerce laying out expectations for intergovernmental cooperation regarding oversight. As Chair Rodgers said in the full committee markup of Energy and Commerce’s Authorization and Oversight Plan for the 118th Congress, “We have a responsibility to conduct oversight to get answers on behalf of those we serve and to ensure accountability so the government is responsive to the American people.” The members outline the below seven principles for each agency or department to comply with Congressional requests and provide answers the American people deserve. 1. For all requests or questions, please reproduce the requests or questions presented in a written letter with the department or agency response. 2. In the spirit of comity and inter-branch accommodation, your department or agency should endeavor to cooperate as much as possible with committee oversight requests. If your department or agency has determined it will not voluntarily cooperate with the requests, please provide electronic written notice within two business days specifying which requests you are declining to cooperate with and the stated reasons for voluntary noncooperation. 3. Your department or agency should make a determination on whether certain requests cannot be fulfilled as presented. Provide electronic written notice within one business week of receipt of the request about such determinations, stating the reasons why. If there is an alternative approach that could address the Committee’s request, then such an alternative approach should be suggested in the interests of comity and inter-branch accommodation. 4. If the department or agency needs clarification about a Committee request, your staff should make good faith efforts to contact Committee staff for assistance as soon as possible. 5. We expect your department or agency to provide a written response to our oversight requests within two weeks of receipt of the letter. If the department or agency needs additional time to respond to Committee requests, your staff should make good faith efforts to contact Committee staff for assistance as soon as possible. 6. If your department or agency has determined that certain requested documents cannot be produced pursuant to a privilege or other legal basis, your department or agency should submit an index of the withheld documents and the privilege asserted within two business weeks of receipt of the request letter. 7. If your department has determined that a requested witness cannot be made available pursuant to a privilege or other legal basis, your department or agency should submit in writing an explanation of the privilege or other legal basis asserted within two business weeks of receipt of the request letter. CLICK HERE to view the letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. CLICK HERE to view the letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. CLICK HERE to view the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. CLICK HERE to view the letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.