A senior Republican has accused Barack Obama of heading "one of the most corrupt administrations" ever seen in the United States.
Darrell Issa, a Congressman from California who will take over the powerful Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the House of Representatives, is set to subpoena dozens of Obama officials as he investigates a litany of issues. He has promised that the new Congress that convenes this week will vigorously pursue fraud and government waste.
His tough words indicated that the Democratic president is in for a rough ride over the next two years, when the Republicans will control the House after their victory in November’s mid-term elections.
Republicans have also renewed their vow to repeal health care reform, the signature achievement of Mr Obama’s first two years in office.
Though such efforts would be defeated in the Senate, where the Democrats still hold a diminished majority, and could be vetoed by the president, Republicans are convinced that they can force the administration into making changes to the law, which provided health insurance to nearly all Americans.
They are also examining how Congressional authority can be used to deny funding to elements of the bill.
Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, said Republicans in the House and Senate will try to “defund the Obama care bill and start over”.
“It will be one big fight over the role of health care and should Obama health care be in existence in 2012 the way it is today,” he said.
Mr Issa said that his committee would identify where “waste, fraud and abuse” existed in the Obama plan.
“As Republicans, our goal is to repeal what was done on a partisan basis, come back and do on a bipartisan basis, real reform,” he said.
A staunch conservative who made a fortune in car alarms, Mr Issa is renowned as one of the most outspoken and most uncompromising members of the Congress.
He said that the Obama administration deserved to be called corrupt because of the corrosive effects of excessive government spending and regulation on the economy.
He is aiming to launch an investigation into the impact of regulation on job creation, and will summon business leaders to explain why the economy hasn’t “created the private sector jobs the president has promised”.
The government-backed housing companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which lent heavily to first-time borrowers, will come under close scrutiny for their role in the excessive mortgage lending that triggered the 2008 financial crisis.
Conservatives have long complained that for political reasons the Obama administration failed to hold the two companies accountable, preferring to concentrate on blaming Wall Street.
Mr Issa’s committee will also examine corruption in Afghanistan and what he described as the weak government response to the disclosures in the US diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks website.
“If we can take any lessons away from the results of the mid-term elections, it’s that the American people will no longer tolerate a government that has institutionalised a culture of waste and abuse that acts carelessly with their tax-dollars,” said Kurt Bardella, Mr Issa’s spokesman.
“As chairman of this committee, Congressman Issa will pursue an agenda that aims to shed light on the failures of government for the purpose of reforming them so that the government is more transparent and accountable to the American people,” he told Politico.