Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bob Goodlatte backs change to committees’ subpoena power

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on Wednesday defended a pending rules change that would give him broader subpoena powers, calling it an “important tool” for oversight of powerful agencies such as the Justice Department.

Several key House committees are considering a new policy that would eliminate long-standing requirements that chairmen either consult or get consent from the minority party before issuing subpoenas, or hold a committee vote. The Judiciary Committee plans to continue requiring the majority to consult the minority party, and Goodlatte said he takes the consultation mandate “very seriously” and will have “real consultation” with Democrats.
But Goodlatte also said the proposed change would be useful.

“In order to be able to act efficiently and effectively and in a timely fashion in certain circumstances, we think it’s an important tool for the committee of the majority, through its chairman, to have,” Goodlatte said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. He said that in some circumstances – for instance, when the House is not in session and lawmakers would have to act quickly – broadening the chairman’s subpoena powers would be an “efficient and effective tool.”

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