- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Congressional hearing Wednesday investigating problems at the Environmental Protection Agency quickly split along party lines with Democrats accusing Republicans of launching investigations simply to interfere with environmental regulation.

“The committee will focus on what appears to be an effort to block EPA at every turn, and prevent the agency from getting anything done,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, said the hearing was not focused on climate change, but about several controversies that have enveloped the agency.

“A troubling trend has emerged — a lack of overall supervision and accountability for those employees who cheat the taxpayers,” Mr. Issa said.

Two senators who testified at the hearing echoed the arguments.

“It does not serve the public to interfere with the EPA in its performance of this vital, important, and popular duty,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat.

Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, said the House’s work was important because he argued that the Democrat-controlled Senate was not investigating ongoing problems with the agency.

“These management failures have facilitated waste of millions and millions of taxpayers’ dollars and have undermined congressional oversight,” he said.

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