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SPOTLIGHT

1. SENATE

Limited by his minority status, Vitter piggybacks on House watchdogs to pummel the administration

Sen. David Vitter doesn't have as much control as he'd like over the Senate's environmental panel, so he's teaming up with powerful allies across Capitol Hill. The Louisiana Republican aspires to be a thorn in the side of the Obama administration when it comes to energy and the environment, but he suffers from the plight of the minority as ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He doesn't have the power to haul agency chiefs before the committee as he pleases, subpoena witnesses or even schedule hearings, and resources are generally sparser for the minority office. Enter Chairmen Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

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