Senate Judiciary Approves Oversight Reform for the American Red Cross

Posted March 8, 2007 at 1:28pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee today reported out two judicial nominees and approved a bill reorganizing management practices at the American Red Cross before losing a quorum and deciding to hold over several other items of business.

By voice vote, the committee approved the American National Red Cross Governance Modernization Act of 2007 (S. 655). The legislation was approved with one amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Grassley’s amendment also passed by voice vote.

Grassley said he sponsored the legislation due to recent accusations of fraud, waste, and abuse at the Red Cross.

S. 655 would establish stricter governmental oversight responsibilities for the Red Cross, including implementing a Presidential Advisory Council; authorizing the Comptroller General and GAO to review Red Cross involvement in Federal programs; and employing a Red Cross Ombudsman assigned to report to Congress regarding Red Cross Activities.

The bill’s cosponsor, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), praised the legislation, saying, “Our bill will help ensure that checks and balances are sound, reliable and vigilant — just as Americans expect the Red Cross to be.”

Separately, without objection, committee members approved Thomas Hardiman and Vanessa Lynne Bryant for consideration on the Senate floor. Hardiman is the nominee to be the U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit, and Bryant is under consideration for appointment as U.S. District Judge for the District of Connecticut.

It is not known when the full Senate will consider either S. 655 or the nominations.

The committee also passed by voice vote a technical amendment offered by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007 (S. 261). The full bill was tabled.

Other items on the committee’s agenda that were held over included Authorization of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (S. 231); the Federal Agency Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007 (S. 236); the COPS Improvements Act of 2007 (S. 368); the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2007 (S. 376); and the Safe Babies Act of 2007 (S. 627).

A resolution honoring the extraordinary achievements of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (S. Res. 88) and a concurrent resolution commemorating the 85th anniversary of the founding of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (S. Con. Res. 14) were also tabled.

Also held over was authorization of subpoenas in connection with the investigations of eight fired U.S. attorneys.

The committee plans to consider the tabled items during the week of March 12.