Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reference Shelf: U.S. Government: Congressional Oversight Manual Prepared by the Congressional Research Service


January 18, 2011 00:57

New from the Congressional Research Service:

Congressional Oversight Manual (162 pages; PDF; January 6, 2011)

by Frederick M. Kaiser
Specialist in American National Government

Walter J. Oleszek
Senior Specialist in American National Government

Todd B. Tatelman
Legislative Attorney
January 6, 2011

From the Summary:
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) developed the Congressional Oversight Manual over 30 years ago, following a three-day December 1978 Workshop on Congressional Oversight and
Investigations. The workshop was organized by a group of House and Senate committee aides from both parties and CRS at the request of the bipartisan House leadership. The Manual was produced by CRS with the assistance of a number of House committee staffers. In subsequent
years, CRS has sponsored and conducted various oversight seminars for House and Senate staff and updated the Manual as circumstances warranted. The last revision occurred in 2007. Worth noting is the bipartisan recommendation of the House members of the 1993 Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress (Rept. No. 103-413, Vol. I):

Over the years, CRS has assisted many Members, committees, party leaders, and staff aides in the performance of the oversight function, that is, the review, monitoring, and supervision of the implementation of public policy. Understandably, given the size, reach, cost, and continuing growth of the modern executive establishment, Congress’s oversight role is even more significant—and more demanding—than when Woodrow Wilson wrote in his classic Congressional Government (1885): “Quite as important as lawmaking is vigilant oversight of administration.” Today’s lawmakers and congressional aides, as well as commentators and scholars, recognize that Congress’s work, ideally, should not end when it passes legislation. Oversight is an integral way to make sure that the laws work and are being administered in an effective, efficient, and economical manner. In light of this destination, oversight can be viewed as one of Congress’s principal responsibilities as it grapples with the complexities of the 21st century.

Source: CRS (via Secrecy News; Federation of American Scientists)

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