WASHINGTON - JULY 24 - A Senate confirmation hearing for former U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should provide senators a forum to challenge the latest Bush administration attempt to insulate itself from congressional accountability, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
The hearing will take place Tuesday, July 24, at 10 am in 342 Dirkson Senate Office Building.
In a July 23 letter, UCS and OMB Watch urged Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chair Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) to question the nominee on his opinion of Bush administration Executive Order 13422, which goes into effect today. The executive order bans any regulation from moving forward without the approval of an agency's regulatory policy officer, who would be a political appointee. UCS urged the Senate committee to ask Mr. Nussle how he would ensure that political appointees would not interfere with the work of agency scientists.
"We have a corps of highly trained scientists in federal agencies. Why would we want to undermine their expertise and authority?" said Francesca Grifo, director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program. "This executive order greatly expands the power of the White House to weaken the ability of federal agencies to protect public health and safety. We have the right to know where Mr. Nussle stands."
The groups also sent the letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), who is holding an additional confirmation hearing for Nussle later this week.