McCaskill Tapped for New Oversight Post

Posted January 30, 2009 at 10:23am

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) has tapped a loyal supporter of President Barack Obama to lead a new subcommittee that oversees federal contracting.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the first female Senator to back Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton during last year’s race for the Democratic presidential nomination, will head the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight.

“Management of federal contracts is one of the greatest operational challenges facing the federal government,” Lieberman said in a statement, noting that $532 billion was spent on federal contracts last year. “This is a problem area that needs as much oversight as we can possibly muster.”

Lieberman’s move to create the new subcommittee — and to choose a staunch Obama ally to lead it — comes just months after Democratic Senate leaders allowed him to keep his committee chairmanship, largely at Obama’s behest.

Lieberman’s Homeland Security post was considered at stake after he campaigned for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in last year’s presidential race. Lieberman harshly criticized Obama at the Republican National Convention, and Democratic Members voiced concern about how the independent would lead oversight of an administration that he spoke out against on the campaign trail.

McCaskill’s ascension likely helps calm concerns among Lieberman’s Democratic colleagues. The Missouri Democrat is a former state comptroller who made oversight a centerpiece of her 2006 campaign, when she ousted a Republican incumbent.