House Oversights - Week Of August 7

August 12, 2011 12:07 pm ET — Media Matters Action Network

A weekly roundup of what House Republicans are and aren't doing with their committees.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is joining 40 other members of Congress and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) in urging a federal appeals court to "reverse a lower court decision" and uphold an Indiana law that prohibits federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on TARP and Financial Services, returned to his home district this week to face waves of angry voters at a series of town halls. McHenry claimed he didn't know where any stimulus spending has gone and accused the Obama administration of "incompetence" in their handling of the BP oil spill. At one point, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) name was booed by the crowd, and McHenry encouraged their sentiment, complaining, "You're telling me. I have to see her every day."

One of Smith's priorities has been a patent reform bill, H.R. 1249, that opponents believe would "choke off innovation and give undue advantage to big banks and large high-tech firms." Smith's bill passed the House, as did a similar bill in the Senate, but the different versions won't be reconciled until the Senate reconvenes, pushing Smith's pet project back until after Labor Day.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is expanding his investigation into President Obama's latest fuel efficiency standards. Issa, who claims the standards aren't based on science, is asking the White House to turn over "all emails between automakers and the Obama administration" that were sent during negotiations over increasing efficiency standards.