Friday, January 9, 2009
Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz A One-Man Dynamo; Named To Three Different House Committees, Co-Sponsoring The Broadcaster Freedom Act
Utah's rookie Third District Congressman Jason Chaffetz hasn't leaped over any tall buildings in a single bound yet, or saved the world in 60 minutes a la Jack Bauer, but he's done almost everything else since arriving in Washington, D.C. to take up his post. And on Thursday January 8th, 2008, Chaffetz was named to the same three committees on which his predecessor, Chris Cannon, served. Most rookie House members only receive two committee assignments, so Chaffetz has impressed important people since his arrival in Congress. Full stories from the Deseret News and the Provo Daily Herald.
By the way, Jason Chaffetz' official U.S. House website is up and running:
Chaffetz was named to the Oversight and Government Reform, Judiciary, and Natural Resources committees. He actually wanted Oversight and Government Reform the most, because it has investigative powers over any Federal program. The assignment fits perfectly with his reform agenda. In addition, this committee will play an important role in the 2010 census, which may determine how soon Utah gets a fourth U.S. House seat. One reason Utah missed obtaining a fourth House seat in 2000 by a mere 80 people in census counts is because LDS missionaries from Utah Congressional districts serving outside the state were not counted.
Ironically, Chaffetz did not initially seek the Judiciary committee assignment because he is not a lawyer, but it was offered to him specifically because they want some members on the committee who are not lawyers and who bring a layperson's perspective to the table. So he accepted the assignment, particularly after he found out that immigration is one of the committee's main issues; immigration is also one of Chaffetz' pet issues. The committee also oversees constitutional amendments, and the first bill he co-sponsored was an amendment to require balanced federal budgets.
Chaffetz was also pleased with his assignment to Natural Resources, because its oversight of public lands and water issues makes it critical to Utah's interests. But in summary, Chaffetz said, "All three committees have particular importance to Utah. They certainly are consistent with the principals that I campaigned hard on: fiscal discipline, limited government, accountability and a strong national defense."
One sour note is that, according to Chaffetz, his predecessor Chris Cannon has refused to communicate with him or to assist in any way with the transition. If true, this is a sad end to Cannon's Congressional career. Instead of departing with class and putting the people's interests first, Cannon departs as an ingrate, elevating his selfish desire for revenge above all. [Ed. Note: Don't feel too sorry for Cannon; perhaps La Raza will hire him as a lobbyist as payback for all he did for them when he was in Congress. LOL!]
Jason Chaffetz is also taking issue with the so-called Fairness Doctrine, attaching himself to a legislative effort to prevent its resurrection. He became a co-sponsor of the "Broadcaster Freedom Act", designed to ensure that Democrats and the incoming Obama administration cannot reinstate the Fairness Doctrine that the Federal Communications Commission repealed in 1985. The bill already had 208 co-sponsors, among them Congressman Rob Bishop (Jim Matheson is not one of them).
The rule, put in place in 1949, had required broadcast outlets to air contrasting points of view on controversial topics in an era when relatively few broadcast outlets existed. Guidelines were vague enough that some broadcasters avoided controversial topics. Chaffetz said, "Since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, talk radio has grown rapidly due to the power of the free market. Some want to attack the free market of ideas by telling broadcasters what viewpoints they must supply. America's founders would be appalled to see the government trampling the First Amendment rights of free press through the kind of micromanagement the so-called Fairness Doctrine requires."
And finally, Jason Chaffetz made time to appear on Stephen Colbert's Comedy Central program, The Colbert Report, where he lost two leg wrestling matches to the comic. All in good fun, I suppose. Video can be viewed HERE.
Very few politicians are real people. Jason Chaffetz is one of the few who's authentic. Hopefully, Washington won't corrupt him.