If I Were My Own Representative, Part III: Hearings and Caucuses

I’ve been to a Congressional hearing, watched a few more on TV, and prepared testimony for several. Hearings, in general, are effective for Congress to gather information so it can evaluate alternatives and exercise its oversight. But some of the hearings seem trivial, either in their subject matter or their treatment, and become little more than media events for grandstanding by elected officials and witnesses.

If I Were My Own Representative, I could go to hearings on trivial subjects and ask, “Why are we having this hearing? Don’t we have better things to do?” Better things like debating big, substantive issues; reconciling or voting on bills; or even crafting our own legislation so lobbyists wouldn’t have to?

Not all hearings are on trivial subjects, of course, but they aren’t all on matters of great importance to the state, either. And even the ones I think are trivial are obviously important to somebody.* Why, I don’t know … hence, the question I’d like to ask.

Would it be rude to ask the question? Oh, yeah. And not exactly politically astute: I presume nobody questions whether a given hearing is trivial in order not to offend their fellows. If I did that, they might not want to attend my trivial hearings. As quid-pro-quo goes, that’s probably pretty harmless. But it’s not as fun.

As for caucuses — of which, like committees and hearings, there are probably more than necessary — I’d definitely join the Air Force Caucus. I don’t know if any other caucuses would have me!

*For example: A subject I consider trivial, like steroids in sports, you might consider of paramount importance to the survival of our democratic republic. To each, his own.

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