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.




Department of Defense Delays Air Force Tanker Contract Decision…Again

The Department of Defense (DoD) has once again flip-flopped with regard to the awarding of a $40 billion Air Force aerial refueling tanker contract.

Medicare Fraud: Not a New Story

Just before the August congressional break, Citizens Against Government Waste testified before a forum on Medicare fraud that was chaired by Sens. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).  Sen. Martinez introduced S. 3164, the Seniors and Taxpayers Obligation Protection Act (STOP) of 2008, a bill that does several things to address the continuing problem of out-of-control fraud in the Medicare program.

Sen. Stevens Indicted

On July 29, 2008, it was announced that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) had been indicted by the Justice Department on seven counts of making false statements for failing to disclose $250,000 worth of gifts from a contractor.

Caution: Porkers at Work

While summer has almost come to an end, the only appropriations bill that has come to a full vote in either chamber of Congress this year is the Military Construction-VA spending bill (H.R. 6599).  The action taken on this bill, however, offers a preview of what taxpayers can expect with the eleven remaining spending bills.

Incensed Over Incentives

H.R. 3221, the housing bailout bill that President Bush signed on July 23, 2008 is a $300 billion handout to home builders, mortgage companies who made bad loans and borrowers who took loans for homes they could not afford.  The bill was exacerbated by the last-minute inclusion of a potential $25 billion (or more) taxpayer subsidy for the nation’s two mammoth government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Despite claims that the money would not be used, the taxpayers may be on the hook sooner rather than never.  It turns out that there were other nasty surprises tucked into the bill as well.

Staying Healthy by Eliminating Waste

When President Bush announced the beginning of the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) during his 2003 State of the Union speech, the five-year, $15 billion measure was announced as “the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to a single disease.”  Targeting 15 “focus countries,” most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, the plan embraced a three-pronged strategy based around prevention, treatment and care.

Deadly Earmarks

Earmarks can be deadly, according to Air Force Reserve Maj. Eric Egland.  Egland, a counter-terrorism operative, military intelligence officer and Iraq War veteran, wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Times on July 2 asserting that national security earmarks are being abused, with disastrous consequences.

Earmark Disclosure: Slow but Steady

“Will you disclose the earmarks that you have requested, Representative?"

Appropriations Gone Awry

Traditionally, summer is appropriations season on Capitol Hill. The core twelve spending bills – Agriculture; Commerce/Justice/Science; Defense; Energy & Water; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Interior & Environment; Labor/HHS/Education; Legislative Branch; Military Construction/Veterans Affairs; State/Foreign Operations; and Transportation/Housing & Urban Development – usually have worked their way through the legislative process, and have been signed by the President.

GSE Monster Mash-up

On Friday, July 11, the nation’s two largest housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, began a precipitous stock slide that stirred a mini-panic on Wall Street and among government officials.  There was a frantic bid to craft a government rescue plan over the weekend.  On Monday, federal officials rushed to the nearest open microphone to reassure the nation that these mortgage behemoths were in no real danger of going belly up.

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