Rep. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from Wyoming and the new chair of the Interior Subcommittee of the House Oversight Reform Committee, says she is determined to provide strict oversight of President Barack Obama’s energy and environment policies and scale back what she believes is federal overreach.
With oversight of the EPA, the Interior Department, the Energy Department, and the Agricultural Department, amid an increasing number of executive actions and accusations of departmental mismanagement and misconduct, Lummis has plenty of work ahead.
Lummis argues the administration went too far in attempting to control water use under the Clean Water Act. In response, she co-sponsored H.R.5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014, a bill intended to limit the EPA’s reach under the Clean Water Act. Regarding this bill, Loomis said in a press statement,
In Wyoming, water is our single most precious natural resource, which we guard jealously and without which our communities and economies could not survive. The agency is stretching the law to the point of breaking it, claiming jurisdiction over every pond, ditch, and stream in Wyoming no matter how small or isolated.… This legislation gives state and local governments a long overdue seat at the table and ensures Congress has final say over what water is and is not subject to the Clean Water Act.
The Democrat-controlled Senate did not vote on the bill in 2014. With Republicans in control of both the House and Senate in 2015, the bill is likely to pass this year. Whether President Obama would sign the bill or veto it is an open question.
Advocating Spending Cuts
Lummis has also set her sights on reining in government spending. She drafted a bill requiring federal workforce downsizing through attrition, to save an estimated $35 billion over five years. “We’ve racked up over $18 trillion in debt simply because Washington has no idea when to stop spending,” Lummis said. Her bill, the Federal Workforce Reduction Through Attrition Act, would limit hiring of new employees as older ones retire, reducing the number of federal employees without forcing anyone one out of a job.
She also plans investigations into alleged corruption, bullying of whistleblowers, and general impropriety in the Chemical Safety Board and EPA.
Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, says Lummis’s oversight could be just the breath of fresh air federal agencies need. “The Obama administration has been bypassing Congress and imposing far-reaching regulations, with Capitol Hill either unable or unwilling to do anything about it. Rep. Lummis will now have a friendly Senate to work with to rein in the administrative regulatory state,” he said.
If members of Congress, as well as state and local governments, want to avoid being relegated to being little more than decorative potted plants, they should follow the example set by Rep. Lummis and aggressively oppose further usurpation of their power by Washington bureaucrats.