Oversight: November 16, 2007

A weekly rundown of the latest efforts of lawmakers to scrutinize the actions of the executive branch.

•House Financial Services Committee: (11/13/07) — Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), along with Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), subcommittee ranking member Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoSenate committee to consider miner pension bill GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase GOP to Obama: Sanction Chinese entities to get to North Korea MORE (R-W.Va.), Reps. Al GreenAl GreenDem lawmakers rally Muslims against Trump Black caucus issues call to action Democrats stage protest during brief House session MORE (D-Texas), Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), sent a letter to Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, inquiring about the administration’s plans to address the growing budget and management crisis in HUD’s Section 8 project-based assistance program.

“We write out of concern that recent HUD actions, including late payments and truncated contract funding terms, threaten to have significant negative impact on owner confidence in the project-based Section 8 program,” the lawmakers wrote.

•Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs: (11/14/07) —
Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and ranking member Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSwing-state Republicans play up efforts for gun control laws Reid knocks GOP on gun 'terror loophole' after attacks GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Maine) wrote to Department of Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff asking for details on the DHS’s steps to implement the recommendations that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) outlined in a report criticizing the nation’s traveler inspection system.

The report found that there are still vulnerabilities in U.S. Customs and Border Protection travel inspection procedures that leave the country exposed.

“We must meet our obligation to the American people to prevent dangerous goods and people from entering the country,” the letter stated.

•Senate Committee on Finance: (11/13/07) — Ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Trail 2016: Fight night Clinton, Trump tied in Iowa, Grassley leads in Senate race Senate rivals gear up for debates MORE (R-Iowa) asked top officials for the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to respond to questions about their agencies’ oversight of the marketing of prescription drugs that have not been approved by the FDA and illegitimate billing of the Medicaid program for unapproved drugs.

“In the last year, FDA has taken regulatory action against some manufacturers of unapproved drugs. However … many more unapproved drugs remain on the market,” Grassley wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach and CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems.