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The Obama administration's proposed fiscal 2014 budget called for consolidating or eliminating 116 of the government's 226 STEM initiatives and centralizing the coordination of STEM programs under just three agencies: the Education Department, the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. The administration's STEM proposal is one of the government's first visible steps in reversing some of the duplication that riddles the federal landscape and which some lawmakers have seized on as examples of government waste.
Baucus says Senate Finance Committee will investigate IRS targeting Tea Party groups
The Office of Personnel Management has made steady progress chipping away at a longstanding backlog of retirement claims. But Oversight Committee lawmakers and other government watchdogs remain concerned that the absence of a long-term plan to overhaul the mostly paper-based process combined with across-the-board budget cuts and a lack of strong leadership within OPM could stall or derail the progress the agency has made.
The Federal Aviation Administration's supposedly risk-based safety inspection system "falls short of being truly risk-based," especially for foreign repair stations, a report by the inspector general said.
Two senators from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee want to change Senate rules in an attempt to make sure new federal programs or initiatives in proposed legislation don't overlap with existing efforts. Earlier this month, two House members introduced a measure that would require House committees of jurisdiction to hold oversight hearings on an annual report from the Government Accountability Office detailing government duplication.
Congress approved a bill Friday to eliminate expanded financial-disclosure reporting requirements for Senior Executive Service members, just days before the new requirements were to go into effect. Both the House and Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent. The expanded reporting requirements were set to go into effect Monday.
The Office of Personnel Management told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the 50-year-old law creating the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) has hurt its ability to keep the FEHBP up-to-date. The agency estimates billions in savings over the next decade should Congress approve the White House's proposals in the 2014 budget request.
Pundits may question whether Congress should have approved $804 billion in stimulus money via the Recovery Act of 2009. But many in government have come to realize that the independent agency charged with overseeing how that money was spent -- the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board -- has a lot to teach financial managers about ensuring transparency and rooting out waste in government spending.
A new report says a law requiring the online posting of senior federal executives' financial information would likely impinge on employees' privacy and wouldn't do much to deter conflicts of interest. The National Academy of Public Administration was tasked by Congress with studying the STOCK Act — short for "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge" — in response to concerns about privacy and identify theft.
The Office of Special Counsel is "deeply concerned" about the implications of a federal court ruling that stripped low-level Defense Department employees of their ability to appeal suspensions and demotions outside the agency. OSC, which filed an amicus brief earlier this month with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, is worried the ruling could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers.
A parody of the TV show "Star Trek" filmed by Internal Revenue Service employees at an agency studio in Maryland got a rebuke from Congress for wasting taxpayer dollars.
US citing national security in censoring public records more than ever since Obama's election
10 years later, final watchdog report concludes US spent too much, for too little, in Iraq
In his final report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen's conclusion was all too clear: Since the invasion a decade ago this month, the U.S. has spent too much money in Iraq for too few results.
Over the past few years, unimplemented agency inspector general recommendations that could potentially save the government billions of dollars have piled up. Now, with $85 billion in automatic budget cuts kicking in, lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are telling agencies there's no excuse for them to further delay implementing the cost-saving measures and best practices identified by their IGs.
The chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote to 17 agencies requesting short-term ways to achieve savings instead of the across-the-board cuts expected to start today.
The Republican senator from Oklahoma is asking the Office of Management and Budget to require agencies to stop hiring for certain positions. Instead, he would like that funding put towards mission critical jobs that could be affected by sequestration cuts. Coburn, the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, found 10 jobs listed on USAJobs.gov that he believes could be frozen. He says this would give agencies $1.4 million to spend on positions like border security officers and TSA screeners.
GAO adds two new areas to the list, NOAA's satellite programs and the federal government's financial risk because of climate change. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said nearly every initiative on the list made progress in fixing their problems over the last two years.
A total of 30 programs, once again, are considered troubled, including two new areas. But, the Government Accountability Office removed the IRS' Business Systems Modernization program after 18 years on the list, and interagency contracting after 8 years.
House and Senate lawmakers have called on President Barack Obama to fill inspector general vacancies at six large agencies, including open spots at the Departments of Homeland Security and State.