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FCW : May 15, 2013
Oversight 22 May 15, 2013 FCW.COM Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is far from the rst congressman to tackle the prob- lem of wasted taxpayer dollars, but few lawmakers can match his commitment to xing government or his general suspicion of the way agencies are cur- rently managed. And federal executives would do well to pay attention because Mica will likely be the next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Although Mica has only led the com- mittee s Government Operations Sub- committee since January, his focus on xing government stretches back to his rst term in Congress in 1993. His interest in the business of government began even earlier. "I ve been a political addict since high school," Mica told FCW. He cred- ited a teacher for sparking that initial curiosity. He said being part of a politi- cal family helped fuel that interest: His brother Dan served for 10 years as a representative from south Florida, and another brother, David, was an aide to the late Lawton Chiles when the latter was a senator. Mica started his career in real estate and other businesses, then spent two years in the Florida legislature and ve as a staffer for the late Sen. Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.). The turning point in his career, though, was running for Congress and winning a redistricted seat 20 years ago. "I ve been through three redistrict- ings, and the last one was quite the challenge," he said. "I had a primary challenge, which I haven t had since the beginning. But we did pretty good." The subcommittee he leads has broad jurisdiction, and assuming Republicans continue to control the House, Mica is the presumed suc- cessor when term limits force Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to step down as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2015. Mica has often played a leadership role on congressional subcommittees that focus on government reform. He took over the Government Opera- tions Subcommittee when House GOP term limits required him to give management and budget issues, he said. And, he proudly added, she shares his background as a native of West Virginia. Carper often uses colloquialisms and upbeat clichés --- many of which re ect his down-home West Virginia ances- try --- to make his point. He disdains the confrontational rhetoric of many politicians. "If it s not perfect, make it better," he said at a March commit- tee hearing in which he explored the adverse impacts of recent crisis bud- geting. "One thing that annoys me is when people say, It s good enough for government work. " Common-sense budgeting As Carper works to balance his objec- tives of serving as a partner with the Obama administration and the need for bipartisanship in Congress, he hopes Burwell will be a vital ally. In addition to his full plate of govern- ment management issues as commit- tee chairman, he has made it clear that he also wants to be part of the bud- get solution, which includes multiple spending and tax issues. The ongoing budget con ict "has likely made our government less effec- tive and more costly for taxpayers," he said at the recent hearing on the bud- get crisis. "The American people know this. It s not the way that they run their family budgets or their businesses." The four witnesses, all experts on the federal budget, responded that Congress needs to meet its responsi- bilities. "Pass appropriations in a timely way...so that federal employees can do their job effectively," urged Colleen Kel- ley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. Given the inevitable pain of solving the budget problems, Philip Joyce, a professor in the University of Mary- land s School of Public Policy, stressed that lawmakers should "make the deci- sions as quickly as possible." As a lifelong public servant, Carper said he plans to pursue a common- sense approach to governing. Given the recent failings of more complex strate- gies for dealing with budget issues, it is de nitely worth a try. ■ JOHN MICA: CHAIRMAN IN WAITING? HOUSE OVERSIGHT STAN BAROUH
April 30, 2013
May 30, 2013