The current problems with federal agencies are caused by the current Senators and House members not doing their jobs. The standard incumbent talking points this election cycle are that they are champion of veterans and they saved Kansas from lesser prairie chicken regulations.  Both themes confirm lack of policy accomplishments to talk about:  like fixing immigration, like simplifying taxes, or like an energy plan. Each underscores the absence of Congressional oversight and failure to legislate.

The Veterans’ Hospital waiting-list scandal is failure at oversight.  No Senator or Congressman knew this problem existed nation-wide before the Arizona VA story surfaced in 2014.  It was CNN – not any member of Congress – who revealed the fraudulent reporting of patient wait times.  In their routine press releases, the Kansas delegation hyped its dedication to veterans. However, that meant just spending money and paying lip service.  There was no follow-up to see if the system works, no awareness of low morale.   The military removes officers when they don’t do the job.  The same standard should apply to elected officials.

The prairie chicken case exposes a failure to legislate.  The Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency created by Congress and gets all of its regulatory authority from Congress.  If the lesser prairie chicken was improperly protected under the Endangered Species Act, then Congress has the power to make that agency back off.  A simple law blocking use of funds to regulate the lesser prairie chicken is all you needed.  They didn’t get that through Congress.  Instead, our delegation looked to the courts for an activist judge to make the law.