Chaffetz Aims for More Bipartisanship

As the new House Oversight chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz hopes his “tough but fair” approach will build bridges with Democrats.

Reports Roll Call:

While on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chaffetz has been at the forefront of digging into matters that annoy Democrats, like the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

And some of the issues he wants to examine as chairman, such as the 2010 health care law or the Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of nonprofits, are sure to continue annoying them.

But Chaffetz also says his committee is done with Benghazi, now the subject of a separate House select committee investigation. He points to his agreement with Obama on some topics, such as Cuba, and his work with Democrats on other topics, such as prison reform. Last year he did a “district swap” with the panel’s top Democrat, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, where they each visited one another back home.

“If you earn a reputation for calling balls and strikes as you see them, I think you gain a lot of credibility. Hopefully I’ve done that through the years,” he says. “I hope the authenticity of my positions is readily apparent and builds bridges rather than blow them up.”