Oversight and Reform

Chair: Carolyn Maloney

A

Projected Grade for the 116th Congress*

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

43 Investigative Oversight Hearings

37 Policy/Legislative Hearings

120 Total Hearings

Last updated: Oct. 10, 2020, 10:22 a.m.

This committee (known until the 116th Congress as the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) is the House’s primary investigative committee. It traditionally has by far the most active investigative oversight schedule, and by tradition other House committees cede some of their oversight responsibilities to the committee. It tends to use its broad authority and large staff, which numbers close to 100, to hold hearings on news-making controversies and alleged scandals across the full range of government activities. It less often conducts months-long probes like its Senate counterpart, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), and it rarely conducts private sector investigations. Also unlike PSI, the House Oversight committee does not have a reputation for robust bipartisanship; in the past many of its hearings and other activities have been highly partisan in nature. Once known as the Government Operations committee, it retains legislative authority over the District of Columbia, the Census, the Postal Service, the civil service, etc. In addition to its government operations subcommittee, which has legislative and oversight jurisdiction, it has four oversight subcommittees without legislative authority: civil rights and civil liberties; economic and consumer policy; environment; and national security.

In addition to its oversight hearings, the committee has maintained a strong schedule of policy and fact-finding hearings, while holding very few legislative hearings. The committee was unusually active in the 113th and 114th Congresses (2013-16) under Chairs Darrell Issa (R, Cal.) and Jason Chaffetz (R, Utah), with each holding twice as many investigative hearings as the committee did during the other Congresses in the period. Activity fell sharply in the 115th Congress (2017-18) under new Chair Trey Gowdy (R, S.C.), former chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

In the 115th Congress, the committee’s first oversight hearing was a critical look at the Affordable Care Act, in January of 2017. During the 115th, among its 19 other investigative hearings it also looked at management issues at the Office of Personnel Management, the Pentagon, the federal student loan program, the IRS, Medicaid, and the special housing relief fund set up after the financial crisis, known as the Hardest Hit Fund. It also held two hearings critical of the FBI’s the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign and a hearing into the Clinton Foundation.


Chairs

111th Congress: Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

112th Congress: Darrell Issa (R-CA)

113th Congress: Darrell Issa (R-CA)

114th Congress: Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

115th Congress: Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

116th Congress: Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)


Current Congress

We are 99% of the way through the 116th Congress

Oversight and Reform

43 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 100% historical maximum
37 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 68% historical maximum
120 Total Hearings; 84% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 12 35 88 42% F
112th Congress 17 56 123 62% D
113th Congress 41 65 147 98% A
114th Congress 39 65 172 100% A
115th Congress 20 50 128 64% D
116th Congress* 43 37 120 105% A
Historical average 28.7 51.3 129.7

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
Oversight and Reform

Date Hearing Title Committee Category