CONGRESSIONAL REORGANIZATION PROPOSED BY REPS. MALONEY AND SHAYS

Sep 30, 2004
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC - To address the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that congressional oversight ought to be consolidated and strengthened, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) have proposed changes to the House Rules to reorganize Congress (PDF). The Rules changes would include three main actions:

the creation of a permanent Intelligence committee with exclusive jurisdiction over intelligence and counterterrorism, the creation of a permanent Homeland Security committee with exclusive jurisdiction over homeland security, and the creation of a 14th subcommittee on the Appropriations Committee - a subcommittee on Intelligence - and stipulate that one-third of the Intelligence Committee must be members of the Appropriations Committee.

The Rules changes respond to 9/11 Commission criticism that there are currently 88 committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over security and intelligence matters. The need for consolidated oversight was apparent during this week’s consideration of H.R. 10, which was marked up in pieces in at least 6 committees.

“Yesterday’s events underscore an inherent problem with Congress,” said Maloney. “This institution must reorganize itself so that we no longer have a scattershot approach to intelligence and security reform. Some in Congress may have found that particular commission recommendation uncomfortable, but it is necessary.

“So many committees have their hands on so many parts of the 9/11 Commission recommendations that it has become nearly impossible to get a clean version to the House floor - and that will continue to be true until we reform.”

“Congress needs to focus on protecting lives, not protecting turf,” Shays said. “Reorganizing Congress and streamlining oversight was a key recommendation by the 9/11 Commission to make our intelligence and homeland security functions more effective. If re-elected, I cannot support a Rule that does not include a major restructuring of our Committee system.”

Background on Rules changes:

Proposed Maloney/Shays Rules Changes in Response
to the 9/11 Commission Recommendations

1. PROBLEM: According to the 9/11 Commission, leaders of the Department of Homeland Security now appear before 88 committees and subcommittee of Congress. This is “perhaps the single largest obstacle impeding the department’s successful development.” Currently, the Committee on Homeland Security is simply a Select Committee.

SOLUTION: Maloney/Shays changes House Rules to create a permanent standing Committee on Homeland Security with exclusive jurisdiction.

2. PROBLEM: According to the 9/11 Commission, congressional oversight for intelligence and counterterrorism is “dysfunctional” and the Intelligence Committee is simply a Permanent Select Committee.

SOLUTION: Maloney/Shays changes House Rules to create a permanent standing Committee on Intelligence with exclusive jurisdiction over intelligence and counterrorism.

3. PROBLEM: According to the 9/11 Commission, the Intelligence Committee should have authorizing and appropriating authority.

SOLUTION: Maloney/Shays changes House Rules to create a 14th Subcommittee on Appropriations which will be a Subcommittee on Intelligence. Additionally, one-third of the members of the Intelligence Committee shall be members of the Appropriations Committee.

Maloney/Shays acknowledges and fixes the problems that must be made by the legislative body to fully address the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. If we rely solely on the executive branch, we will be shirking our responsibilities and failing to do everything in our power to prevent another tragedy from occurring.

Yesterday it was apparent during the markup of H.R. 10 in the various Committees where Members tried to offer S. 2845 the Collins/Lieberman bill as a substitute that no committee had overarching jurisdiction over the bill. Therefore, they could not address the bill in its entirety and were prevented from offering Collins/Lieberman. There were procedural problems across the board. The Senate is working to reorganize and reform, the House must follow and do the same. The Maloney/Shays Rules changes are the solutions to the problem.

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