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Congressman Seeks To Rein In Agency Watchdogs

Legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat, would create seven-year terms for inspectors general and subject them to removal for cause--rather than current procedure, which delegates that authority to the president.

The proposal would allow inspectors general to submit budget requests directly to the Office of Management and Budget and congressional committees and require the president to put a line item in the administration budget for how much would go to each office.

The bill would also establish a permanent council to review and investigate allegations of misconduct for inspectors general and create a council for all inspectors general to increase training.

The administration objects to the bill, saying it would curb executive power to hire and fire inspectors general and require the president to specify a budget amount.

"If H.R. 928 were presented to the president in its current form, the president's senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill," the White House said in a statement.

By Emma Schwartz