In recent years, Republicans have gutted the norm of sharing oversight powers with the minority party in Congress. In 2015, they abandoned the rule that certain House committees had to at least consult with the ranking minority member in order to subpoena witnesses (absent a full committee vote).
Then, in 2017, the White House directed federal agencies to ignore most oversight requests that came via informal letter from minority Democratic legislators, if they lacked support from Republicans. This departure from long-standing norms (which did carve out an exception for national security issues) didn’t get much press but took away a very important instrument of accountability. Democrats fiercely protested these developments, to no avail.
Now that they’ve regained the House, Democrats are surely not eager to compromise or share the power that Republicans hoarded so covetously. Two years of being forced into deep freeze will do that. Yet the next speaker should reverse those decisions. The Democrats should expand the minority party’s authority to seek information from the executive branch.
Read more at The Washington Post