The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the main investigative arm of the U.S. House of Representatives with jurisdiction to probe any federal program and matters with federal policy implications. To begin investigating the MLB and players congress had to devise a way for this non-federal program to fall within the definition of “matters with federal policy implications.” The website for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform published the following statement to “justify” their focus on the issue:
“Steroid use among teenagers is increasing rapidly, with some experts estimating that nearly half a million teens have used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in recent years. The related health risks can be devastating: heart and liver damage, infection, changes in sexual characteristics, violent rages, and even severe depression that can lead to suicide. Because of the influence of professional athletes on teen behavior, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating steroid use in professional sports and the adequacy of efforts by the Major League Baseball, the NFL, and other professional sports leagues to eliminate their use.”
Essentially the excuse used by congress to waste their time and your money on this issue is because teenagers are easily impressionable and take steroids because they see ball players doing it. While I see the logic behind this train of thought I still question whether this issue is within the jurisdiction of the federal government or whether there are other reasons behind the decision to pursue these matters within the walls of the US Capitol. If there is an “Impressionable Teenager” litmus test for determining the need for a congressional investigation will Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and the Spears girls be brought before congress to testify on their impact on teenage drinking, drug use, pregnancy rates, spending and eating disorders all of which impact far more then the half million teens estimated to use steroids. Is congress just as “star-struck” as teenagers that when presented with the opportunity to meet, subpoena and question baseball players they had to take it?
Baseball did permit, and by some accounts encouraged, the use of performance enhancing drugs and that is certainly an employee abuse issue that warranted examination by the department of labor, not congress. Even the Mitchell Report concluded “that everyone in baseball is responsible: the owners, the commissioner, the union and the players." Major League Baseball has a serious Human Resources personnel issue, not a federal one. Congress should stop wasting their time and our money investigating frivolous nonsense and “play ball” on issues that really effect US citizens.