The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

The WasteWatcher

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.




The Postal Service Reform Act Does Not Deliver

It is no secret that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is broke and broken.  The agency’s low standards of delivery are rarely achieved, it has billions in losses and unfunded liabilities, and it has failed to adapt to changing markets.  Reforms are essential, but H.R. 756, the Postal Service Reform Act, falls short of what is needed.

Securing the Border: A Cautionary Tale

The promise to build a wall and secure the southern border of the United States was perhaps President Donald Trump’s most well-known campaign pledge.  On January 25, 2017, he signed two executive orders related to immigration.  Executive Order No. 3 called for the “immediate construction of a physical wall,” the “expedited determinations of apprehended individuals’ claims of eligibility to remain in the United States,” and the prompt removal of individuals “whose legal claims to remain in the United States have been lawfully rejected.”  Executive Order No, 4 called for the prioritization for deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions or who have been charged with a crime and the hiring of 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, along with other provisions.  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly signed a memorandum on February 20, 2017, to implement the two executive orders.

Caution Needed When Building Digital Bridges

When one thinks about infrastructure, roads and bridges usually come to mind.  These structures not only carry physical vehicles; they also provide the capacity to run wires above ground for telecommunications systems.  These systems can also be built underground, and in the case of wireless broadband communications, ride over spectrum across the airwaves.  Many new technologies therefore run across new bridges to bring information across the country.  And when taxpayer dollars are involved, the “construction” of these services should proceed with caution.

HHS Secretary Tom Price Moves Fast to Ease Obamacare Burdens

You can tell the new secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is on the job. Sworn in hours after he was confirmed by the Senate on Friday, February 10, Doctor Tom Price began his first full day at HHS on Monday. By Wednesday, a new proposed rule was released that will help to stabilize the current individual marketplace that has been ravaged under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly referred to as Obamacare.

At Age 21, Telecommunications Act Needs to Grow Up

On February 8, 2017, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 turns 21 years old.  Some might say, “Oh, here is a law that has stood the test of time.”  But they would be wrong.

House Passage of the Email Privacy Act

On February 6, 2017, increased privacy for emails took a step forward with the House passage of H.R. 387, the Email Privacy Act.  This legislation provides a much-needed update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and extends the legal requirements of warrants to email communications stored by cloud services providers.

Trump to Resistant Bureaucrats: You're Fired

Disturbing news was reported in the January 31, 2017 Washington Post about a growing resistance from federal workers in implementing President Trump’s policies.

115th Congress: A New Sheriff (with a Powerful Posse) Has Arrived

For the first time since Democrats turned the Speaker’s gavel over to the Republicans in January 2011, the Pennsylvania Avenue axis of power (the White House at one end of the famous street, and both chambers of Congress at the other) will be under the control of a single party.  And for the first time since the 2004 elections, that party will be the Republicans’ “Grand Old Party,” not the Democrats.  Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential race completed the trifecta that began in 2010, when Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, followed by the 2014 elections that returned control of the Senate to the GOP.

Can President Trump Finally End the VA Scandal?

As the nation prepares for the transfer of power from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, the issue of veteran healthcare and the insidious and continuing wait-times scandal remains a critical area of concern.

Modernizing Federal Information Technology

President Trump has made it clear that he wants to make significant changes in how government programs are managed.  One of the best sources of the worst examples of wasteful spending for the president and his team is the Government Accountability Office (GAO) High Risk List, which every two years identifies agencies and program areas that are vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.  In GAO’s 2015 report, improving the management of information technology (IT) acquisitions and operations made the high risk list for the very first time.  According to the report, “federal IT investments too frequently fail or incur cost overruns and schedule slippages while contributing little to mission-related outcomes."

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