Aides said the Ways and Means Committee, with Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan as chairman, will take a look at the waivers the Obama administration has granted under its health care law and will examine the expansion of the Internal Revenue Service to force compliance.
The Education and the Workforce Committee, under the leadership of Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican, will take a look at student loans, Mr. Obama’s Race to the Top education program and the health care law’s mandates on employers.
Part of what’s driving Republicans is the list of questions they’ve drawn up over the past two years when they were in the minority and when the White House felt less pressure to respond to their requests for information.
Now, in control, they can call administration officials as witnesses, set the hearing agenda and demand that documents be turned over, with the threat of a subpoena if the administration doesn’t comply.
“Because of that, which is the ultimate hammer, they will be more willing to release reports,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican.
Mr. Bishop, who has been tapped to be chairman of the public lands subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee, said he wants to find out more about administration plans to restrict use of federal property. Last year, his office released a Bureau of Land Management document showing preliminary discussions in the administration for moving tens of millions of acres into more protected status, but Mr. Bishop said he has been unable to see what other agencies have discussed.
Meanwhile, Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said he wants to see oversight hearings look at the constitutional backing for what agencies are doing.
“It’s my hope that one of the premises on which these hearings are held is, OK, the federal government is acting in this area, we’re conducting oversight of that, the first question is should the federal government be acting in that area at all?” he said.