House GOP float idea of cutting off funding to federal agencies to compel cooperation with oversight and accountability

Republicans made it clear some time ago that, once they have regained control of one or both chambers of Congress, they will seek to hold President Joe Biden and his administration accountable for its alleged abuses of authority and unconstitutional actions.

However, committee hearings and even subpoenaed testimony may not prove sufficient in achieving accountability, so some House Republicans are now discussing using their own constitutional “power of the purse” in government funding to try and force accountability and transparency, the Conservative Brief reported.

Accountability needed for “massive abuse of power”

One of those House Republicans is Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who shared his thoughts on the idea during an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with guest host Sean Duffy, a former colleague in Congress also from Wisconsin.

Gallagher first addressed the “massive abuse of power” witnessed by the Biden administration thus far, the most recent example of which was the “unprecedented” FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, of which no advance notification was given to the House Intelligence Committee on which the congressman serves.

He also mentioned prior scandalous abuses and targeting of Trump by the FBI over the years and said, “And as of yet, no one’s been held accountable, Sean. No one has been held accountable for that massive abuse of power.”

“Fencing” off appropriated funds to compel cooperation

Both Duffy and Gallagher noted that mere committee hearings and subpoenas for documents and testimony may prove insufficient in garnering the sort of cooperation and accountability desired, which led to the Wisconsin Republican’s idea of going after the funding for certain agencies and departments in order to compel the sought after cooperation, according to the Daily Caller.

“We’ve had extensive discussions about using a practice called fencing, which is basically you kind of draw appropriations or authorization fence around various pots of money in order to compel, whether it’s the FBI or the CIA or the NSA, to give you information that you are demanding,” Gallagher explained. “It’s a shame that you actually have to do that, but that is what’s necessary.”

The congressman went on to suggest that it wasn’t just FBI and DOJ abuses that would be focused on by a presumable new Republican majority in the next Congress, but also other issues like the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as false or misleading information delivered to the public from government officials about the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things.

“There are all sorts of areas where we have to go through each executive branch agency and start to demand basic answers, and until we have subpoena power and the willingness to wield it effectively, we’re not going to get those answers,” Gallagher said. “So, we have to use that, we have to use the power of the purse more effectively to get basic transparency and, again, start to restore competence and trust in these agencies before it’s too late.”

Another idea is to slash salaries of bureaucrats

Meanwhile, Just the News recently reported that another top House Republican, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), has discussed reviving an old procedure known as the Holman Rule that could be used to slash an uncooperative individual federal bureaucrat’s salary in order to compel compliance with congressional subpoenas.

The House of Representatives maintains ultimate control of the federal pursestrings, and both of these ideas — “fencing” off appropriations or slashing bureaucratic salaries — are reasonable and legitimate methods by which Congress can reassert its authority to provide a check against abuses of power by the executive branch.

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