Incoming Second District Cong. Tim Griffin, who will be sworn in on Wednesday, says he has been asked to serve on the House Republican "whip team" as an assistant whip. He also offered comments on the role of the House Oversight Committee, which is expected to probe a number of Obama administration policies.
Third District Cong.-elect Steve Womack announced last week that he has also been asked to join the exclusive "whip" leadership team. Having two of three Arkansas GOP Congressmen serving in these roles is unprecedented.
U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will serve as the Majority Whip for the GOP leadership in the 112th Congress. The position makes McCarthy the No. 3 Republican leader in the House. The whip team, which helps the whip leader collect and count floor votes in the House, is a small and powerful group. There were only nine members on the Democratic whip team under House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn.
Griffin said that he is in the process of getting his Washington and Little Rock offices up and running. He said that phones are being answered, and despite a few technology glitches earlier in the day, constituents are being served.
Last month, the newly elected central Arkansas Congressman learned he would serve on the House Judiciary Committee and House Armed Services Committee.
Griffin discussed one of the major national headlines today. Cong. Dan Issa, R-Ind., will lead the House Oversight Committee, which will dive into a number of possible investigations of the Democratic administration. Griffin said he sees oversight as a positive for checks and balances.
"I believe that oversight is a legitimate role of the Congress, but it needs to be oversight that ensures taxpayers’ dollars are being spent wisely and we’re getting the most efficient, effective government that we can for our dollar. It should not be oversight based on a personal witch hunt and I don’t think anybody is planning on that," he noted.
Griffin said from what he has read, Issa’s committee will make inquiries into the foreclosure crisis and health care related issues. National news reports also indicate that the investigative committee may probe the impact of government regulations on job creation, recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and aspects of the Afghanistan war.
"I firmly believe that often oversight is the plow that sort of prepares the land for good legislation. You learn through oversight how laws are actually working. You talk to folks in the executive branch and elsewhere and you figure out what part of the law works, what part doesn’t, where’s money being wasted, where’s it being spent wisely," said Griffin. "And all of that information, if used properly, makes for better legislation. I’m all for legitimate, vigorous oversight."
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