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house Bill H.R. 4010

Should Congress Have More Power to Enforce Subpoenas It Issues?

Argument in favor

The Constitution gives Congress significant oversight powers and the authority to issue and enforce subpoenas is a critical part of that. This bill makes it easier for Congress to enforce subpoenas and compel the production of records needed for a committee’s investigation.

Ticktock's Opinion
···
10/22/2017
To many in D.C. think that Congressional subpoenas are a joke. It’s time to put some teeth in the enforcement effort. If D.C. is to be brought under control committees must have the ability to compel compliance.
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OlderNWiser's Opinion
···
10/23/2017
Without power to enforce, those who believe in punishment, the stick instead of the carrot, will not respect nor behave appropriately when subpoenaed. I learned yesterday that I’m not alone in seeing a decline and fall of our country in the face of corruption in this Administration and many elected representatives. We are declining into a fascist dictatorship using racism, xenophobia, misogyny, lies, propaganda called Fox and class warfare as tools of the takeover of the country. I pray for Amendment 25 to be enacted, much less impeachment.The majority of Americans see government corruption as our biggest problem. As do I.
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Andrew's Opinion
···
10/23/2017
While I am a little concerned about the possibility for abuse of this action; that possibility is already there (as this bill does not affect the issuance of a subpoena), this bill would expedite the Judicial review (hooray checks and balances) process for Congressional Subpoenas, which might help with efficiency of government function. I need to believe that the Judiciary is independent from the Congress, and will Work to reduce the chances of abuse by Congress.
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Argument opposed

The existing process for issuing and enforcing subpoenas isn’t perfect, but Congress has expansive power and most subpoenas are honored unless the recipient wants to be held in contempt. There’s no need to strengthen Congress’s subpoena authority.

Taylor's Opinion
···
10/23/2017
I struggle to vote Nay on this issue, asa subpoena by the Congress of the United States is something that should be looked at with the stature it deserves. My struggle, however, is that in today's political climate, I fear it's use and potential abuse by either party. Perhaps in a time when Justice is less politicized on Both Sides and used as a weapon by Both Parties in power against the other, perhaps we should find ways to further limit the political appendages of our government from using such tools as political weapons, rather than giving it additional teeth. The elephant will use it to bite the donkey, and the donkey will use it to bite the elephant.
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Francis's Opinion
···
10/23/2017
The biggest and best argument against this bill is that its sponsor is Darrell Issa.
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Karyn's Opinion
···
10/23/2017
Sorry this seems like a power grab to me. Congress like any other person or entity should be required to have a basis before having a subpoena enforced.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4010?

This bill would enhance congressional authority to enforce subpoenas issued by its committees by letting committees seek an expedited review from a three-judge panel in U.S. district court to compel compliance with a subpoena. Committees would also have the ability to appeal directly to the Supreme Court. Recipients of a congressional subpoena would be required to comply, and if they were to claim legal privilege for withholding subpoenaed materials they’d have to provide the committee with a privilege log that gives information about the withheld records.

Impact

Individuals or entities subpoenaed by Congress; Congressional committees; district courts; and the Supreme Court.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4010

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have an insignificant impact on the federal budget.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced this bill to enhance congressional committees’ subpoena power:

“Congress has a duty to hold government accountable because the people have a right to know what they get from their government and because they deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. During my time as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, I saw first-hand how the Executive Branch would do everything in its power to avoid complying with Congressional requests for documents and information that the committee was entitled to. This bill is a long-overdue update that will give Congress better tools to conduct our Constitutional responsibilities as the chief watchdog for the American people.”

This legislation was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on a 26-0 vote and has the support of four Republican cosponsors in the House.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: mj0007 / iStock)

AKA

Congressional Subpoena Compliance and Enforcement Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States and title 28, United States Code, to enhance compliance with requests for information pursuant to legislative power under Article I of the Constitution, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed October 23rd, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedOctober 11th, 2017

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    To many in D.C. think that Congressional subpoenas are a joke. It’s time to put some teeth in the enforcement effort. If D.C. is to be brought under control committees must have the ability to compel compliance.
    Like (153)
    Follow
    Share
    I struggle to vote Nay on this issue, asa subpoena by the Congress of the United States is something that should be looked at with the stature it deserves. My struggle, however, is that in today's political climate, I fear it's use and potential abuse by either party. Perhaps in a time when Justice is less politicized on Both Sides and used as a weapon by Both Parties in power against the other, perhaps we should find ways to further limit the political appendages of our government from using such tools as political weapons, rather than giving it additional teeth. The elephant will use it to bite the donkey, and the donkey will use it to bite the elephant.
    Like (164)
    Follow
    Share
    The biggest and best argument against this bill is that its sponsor is Darrell Issa.
    Like (64)
    Follow
    Share
    Without power to enforce, those who believe in punishment, the stick instead of the carrot, will not respect nor behave appropriately when subpoenaed. I learned yesterday that I’m not alone in seeing a decline and fall of our country in the face of corruption in this Administration and many elected representatives. We are declining into a fascist dictatorship using racism, xenophobia, misogyny, lies, propaganda called Fox and class warfare as tools of the takeover of the country. I pray for Amendment 25 to be enacted, much less impeachment.The majority of Americans see government corruption as our biggest problem. As do I.
    Like (48)
    Follow
    Share
    While I am a little concerned about the possibility for abuse of this action; that possibility is already there (as this bill does not affect the issuance of a subpoena), this bill would expedite the Judicial review (hooray checks and balances) process for Congressional Subpoenas, which might help with efficiency of government function. I need to believe that the Judiciary is independent from the Congress, and will Work to reduce the chances of abuse by Congress.
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    Congressional subpoenas need to be taken seriously
    Like (18)
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    What good is subpoena power if it cannot be enforced?
    Like (17)
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    What’s the point of subpoenas powers if no one takes them seriously?
    Like (14)
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    Subpoenas are a vital part of congress fulfilling its oversight role! They need teeth.
    Like (13)
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    Why issue them if they can't be enforced. We have enough stupid things that get done with high priority and no real purpose. If congress wants to talk to you. You damned well ought to show up, and stop dragging what could be a simple issue on into forever land.
    Like (13)
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    What’s the point of Congress issuing subpoenas if they can’t enforce them? Either give them the power or don’t, but don’t straddle the line and hope for results.
    Like (9)
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    It is about time that Trump’s attorney general stop hiding behind executive privilege. This law was not necessary before Trump’s group of lies
    Like (9)
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    Sorry this seems like a power grab to me. Congress like any other person or entity should be required to have a basis before having a subpoena enforced.
    Like (8)
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    Let’s vote on term limits for these coward congressmen first how about
    Like (6)
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    The power of subpoena is critical to give teeth to the checks and balances our forefathers envisioned in our constitution. These congressional powers are crucial to maintain order and hold our trusted representatives, our faithful fellow citizens, to account.
    Like (6)
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    No one should be allowed to ignore a congressional subpoena.
    Like (6)
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    Congress can't handle the responsibilities it has now. Why would we allow them to vote themselves new powers ?
    Like (6)
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    While I do not approve ignoring Congressional subpoenas, I fear their potential abuse in the current, polarized environment.
    Like (6)
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    They have enough power.
    Like (6)
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    Congress already has sufficient power on this issue. No further legislation is needed.
    Like (5)
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