House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blasted the Labor Department over what he calls wasteful spending on promoting the agency. Issa wants the DOL to hand over documents and information related to agency spending and claims he has information that the DOL spent $600,000 on informational elevator posters, $25,000 in entry fees for public relations contests and $100,000 to promote a book club.
The Congressional Budget Office raised its projection for this fiscal year's federal deficit to $506 billion--up about $14 billion from its last project in April. The deficit projection panned out much better than previous years for President Obama. Last year's deficit came in at $680 billion, while in 2009 it ended up being about $1.1 trillion.
Talks of another possible government shutdown in October are starting as Congress has stalled on passing appropriations bills and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has fired the first shot. But this time, defunding the Affordable Care Act isn't the impediment like it was last year. It's President Obama's use of executive power.
The fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations bill that President Obama signed in December contained enough spending cuts to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts for the rest of the fiscal year, an Aug. 15 Congressional Budget Office report says. The CBO is required to report on sequestration cuts in January and August of each year. Minor adjustments to the budget caps have been made since the January report, but CBO says its assessment remains the same.
Poor planning, budget limitations, increased apprehensions and lack of communication with Homeland Security leaders and the White House led Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to release more than 2,000 immigration detainees--including some criminals--in early 2013, the department's watchdog found.
Balances in the Air Force Working Capital Fund fell below the minimum cash requirements one-third of the time between fiscal 2009 and 2013, a July 31 Government Accountability Office report says. The Air Force operates the AFWCF to provide certain goods and services to a variety of customers, including the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, non-Defense Department agencies and foreign countries, the report says.
The Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology, or RFP-IT, Act was introduced July 30. The legislation proposes to enhance competition for government IT contracts, promote innovation, and strengthen accountability by creating a new government office.
In 2004, the Homeland Security Department reported to 88 different committees and subcommittees of Congress. The 9/11 Commission urged Congress to consolidate oversight to make it less fragmented—but now, a decade later, the department reports to 92 committees and subcommittees.
The head of the House subcommittee on military readiness said the Defense Department needs train soldiers for a broader set of missions during tough fiscal times, at a Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion last week. "People have extraordinary experience, but in a very narrow range of operation. I can guarantee you that the challenges they face in the future will not be exactly like what they have faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the question is how do you make sure you train to develop that capability?" said Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on readiness at the event.
A review of a bureau's information systems within the Treasury Department found a "signficant deficiency" in security measures over financial reporting, a Government Accountability Office report released July 18.