Before Ending Chairmanship, Issa Sets Ebola Hearing for Oversight

Issa will chair a House hearing on Ebola. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Issa will chair a House hearing on Ebola. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 17, 2014 at 5:18pm

California Republican Darrell Issa has a well-deserved reputation for finding ways to bring the issue of the moment into his committee’s jurisdiction.  

President Barack Obama’s handling of the Ebola crisis is no exception.  

On Friday afternoon, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman announced he would convene a full panel hearing in seven days, on Oct. 24, titled, “The Ebola Crisis: Coordination of a Multi-Agency Response.” As with the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing earlier this week, Issa’s hearing will explore whether federal agencies properly handled the first known cases of the Ebola virus in the United States, according to an official description emailed to reporters.  

It’s the second hearing Issa has called for in the middle of a seven-week recess — the first was to probe Secret Service security breaches at the White House, where findings were so damning Director Julia Pierson was forced to resign.  

It’s also one of the last hearings that Issa will get to call as chairman of the committee, as his three terms as the panel’s top Republican are capped at the end of the year.  

The wide scope of the panel’s domain lends itself to a vast portfolio, but part of Issa’s legacy will be his desire to have his hands in many different pots.  

He has, since taking over the gavel in 2011, been particularly adamant about engaging the committee in any unfolding, high-profile controversy that implicates the Obama administration for waste, fraud, abuse, corruption or general misconduct.  

For a time, Issa’s committee overshadowed all other congressional efforts to probe the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as well as the scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.  

Issa has targeted everything from the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov to the mismanagement at the Veteran’s Affairs Department. He’s even had the committee look at the government’s handling of the National Park Service during the government shutdown.  

And the two contempt of Congress votes by the full House of Representatives in the past two years — against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and IRS official Lois Lerner — originated in the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.