Lugar Center gives House and Senate Ag committees low grades on oversight

The Hagstrom Report

Thursday, May 28, 2020 | Volume 10 Number 146

The House Agriculture Committee rates a D and the Senate Agriculture Committee a C- on oversight, the Lugar Center said in a report measuring congressional oversight.

The Congressional Oversight Hearing Index (COHI) categorizes and catalogs all congressional hearings held during the last 12 years (roughly 20,000 hearings). Using this data, the index assigns grades to the oversight performance of current congressional committees and past committees going back to 2009.

“Most Americans agree that robust congressional oversight of the workings of our government and society is an important element of American democracy,” said Dan Diller, policy director of the Lugar Center, which was founded by the late Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., who at one time chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee. “But until now, there has been no objective criteria for gauging whether congressional committees are living up to their oversight responsibilities. The Congressional Oversight Hearing Index allows the public to measure the current oversight performance of each committee against an objective historical standard.”

Of the 17 House Committees graded, nine received A’s, two received B’s, and three received C’s. However, the opposite was true in the Senate. Of the 17 Senate committees graded, only two earned A’s, none received B’s, and four received C’s. Eight Senate committees received F’s.